How Can Georgetown Become A Leader in Sustainability?

Georgetown University has committed to lowering its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2020 over FY 2006 levels. The University has mandated that all new buildings must reach LEED Silver design standards or better.

 

We have made incredible strides on waste management, with a recycling rate of 45% and use of a "waste to energy" plant so that only 15% of Georgetown's waste ends up in a landfill. However, the University has yet to produce a strategic plan for cutting carbon emissions or take the additional step of signing the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment – one of the only Ivy-plus schools not on the list.

 

Green energy and technology has been largely ignored on campus, and the last time Georgetown was on the cutting edge of sustainability was in 1984 with the installation of the ICC solar panels. At the student level, initiatives to make it easier to live sustainably as a Georgetown student have been slow to come; for instance, a price incentive for double-sided printing was only introduced this month.

 

What would it take to make Georgetown a leader in sustainability again? Should Georgetown make investments in green technology and efficiency a priority?

 

What can the University and students do to facilitate sustainability at the individual, student level?

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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Jessica Robbins

Jessica is a senior in the School of Foreign Service studying Science, Technology and International Affairs: Energy and the Environment. She currently serves as Secretary of Sustainability for GUSA and is a member of Georgetown Energy.

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