Earth Week Activities Lead to Ongoing Working Group

Posted: April 26, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron and Tara Laskowski

The excitement and energy were palpable last week at an “Earth Week” brainstorming session where students and faculty members tossed out dozens of ideas on how to make the George Mason campuses “greener.”

A “green” campus, it turns out, doesn’t necessarily mean it has a healthy green lawn. To the contrary, it might mean having even less lawn. Being green means conserving resources and protecting the environment, and the ideas that came out of the brainstorming session ranged from making it easier to recycle cans and trash on campus to planning for more energy-efficient buildings before they are constructed.

The session was a culmination of several Earth Week events held at the Fairfax Campus last week that included presentations by David Orr, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College in Ohio. During one of the presentations, Orr encouraged Mason faculty and students to look broadly at their goals for greening the campus. He suggested that change be made not only in the operations and building of the campus, but also in the curriculum.

Interest in accomplishing these goals was so high that a core group, which includes many students and faculty in New Century College (NCC) classes, has decided to continue meeting and welcomes new participants. The next meeting will be on Friday, April 29, at 10:30 a.m. in Enterprise Hall, NCC Conference Room, fourth floor.

The objectives of the meeting are to set priorities based on the brainstorming ideas, discuss subcommittee groupings based upon what projects people are interested in, find ways to keep momentum going over the summer break, and plan for one more large group meeting before the semester ends.

The brainstorming session was opened by Victoria Rader, associate professor of sociology and anthropology, who asked the group, “What would you like to see—without any limits?” Short- and long-term goals were developed, and suggestions even went beyond Mason. For example, one idea was for students to take the “green” message to local public school communities.

Faculty members were interested in curricular changes at Mason. “I’d like to make that an immediate goal,” said David Kuebrich, associate professor of English. James Henry, associate professor of English, said he’d like to see students in his composition classes “write about something that’s going to make a difference.”

In addition, a student organization called GMU Environmental Awareness Student Group is being formed. E-mail Joe Milmoe for more information. To be added to the general group’s listserv, e-mail Susie Crate.

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