Green Roots committee asks community for input

Dorothy Wickens

The Green Roots committee held a workshop Thursday, Nov. 13 in Riverview Lounge. The workshop was organized in an attempt to get feedback and ideas from students and faculty about different ways to make life at Lawrence more environmentally friendly. Green Roots: The Sustainable Lawrence Initiative is a two-year environmental program that will work to create policies and procedures to make Lawrence more “green.”
The workshop began with a brief introduction from Professor Jeff Clark, the Faculty Associate to the President for Green Roots. The attendees to the workshop were then split into six smaller groups to discuss various sustainability topics: transportation, energy, waste and paper, buildings and grounds, water and curriculum and food. Each group discussion was led by one or two members of the committee, including Professor Monica Rico, Jess Vogt, Vince Dyer, Professor Andrew Mast, Professor Andrew Knudsen, Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell, Reference and Web Services Librarian Julie Fricke and Professor Stewart Purkey.
In each discussion, the workshop attendees, including students, faculty and staff, were asked to give feedback on the ideas that the committee had come up with thus far and to provide ideas to add to the lists.
In the buildings and grounds group, Truesdell and Knudsen led the discussion on the different policies that could be put in place concerning future renovations or construction of buildings, as well as green space on campus. Truesdell reported that Green Roots has been discussing what sorts of “green” standard operating procedures Lawrence should use in the event that a building is renovated or newly constructed. On the topic of grounds, Knudsen discussed the possibility of turning some of the campus’ grass space into natural plantings in an attempt to cut down on water and chemical use.
After each small group was allowed twenty minutes of discussion time, the workshop came back together for a large discussion, which was moderated by committee co-chair, Professor Rico. During the discussion, audience members were asked to share their ideas for making Lawrence more environmentally friendly. On the topic of transportation, students suggested more local bike route information, a bike share program and cheaper bus passes in order to replace the use of cars. Rico suggested more shuttles that could take students to the grocery store or the mall.
Some energy saving ideas that were suggested included more efficient or sensor lighting systems, shutting down computers in the library or academic buildings at night and using community drying racks or clothes lines instead of dryers.
Students also provided ideas to reduce waste on campus. Senior James McDaniel suggested instigating a campus-wide ban on Styrofoam, while senior Megan Bjella suggested using reusable containers and providing incentives to do so.
To conclude the workshop, Clark said, “The committee has been talking about a lot of these ideas. We, as a community, need to communicate what we are doing. We’ll need your help to move forward on some of these things.” Green Roots plans to have more workshops and information sessions throughout the year.
Students, faculty and staff can also email any ideas they have to greenroots@lawrence.edu.

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