Officials at Washington & Jefferson College understand it is no longer enough to reduce, reuse and recycle. Now W&J also is "rethinking" what it buys, what it uses and what it throws away.
To advance these sustainability efforts, W&J has entered into a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This partnership will be beneficial to the College as it implements more cost-effective environmental and business practices.
President Tori Haring-Smith, Ph.D., was joined by Jessica Greathouse, EPA's state and congressional liaison for West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, during an official signing at the John A. Swanson Science Center, W&J's first LEED-certified building on campus.
"This building is a kind of statement, a rather bold statement, I think, of our commitment to sustainability," Haring-Smith said. "I love the name of this particular effort-a sustainability partnership. Sustainability is not something someone can do alone. I thank the EPA for coming to us and I am delighted to be a part of this celebration of the partnership between Washington & Jefferson College and the EPA."
When speaking about sustainability at W&J, Haring-Smith pointed out environmentally friendly features in the John A. Swanson Science Center, including a storm-water reclamation system that utilizes rain water for flushing, a white roofing membrane that helps reduce the building's contribution to the heat island effect, and large windows that allow for more natural lighting.
Adding to that list of efforts was Robert East, Ph.D., associate professor and director of W&J's environmental studies program. "W&J has enjoyed success in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through annual purchases of a wind-power offset, the reduction of refuse by our food service provider, and the creation of a campus-wide recycling program," he said.
As a partner, the EPA will contribute technical support and tools to assist the College in fulfilling its sustainability goals as well as identify other ways the College can reach its goals, whether through recycling, energy cuts, water conservation or materials management.
"The College has set an ambitious goal of eliminating greenhouse gases entirely and we look forward to working together so that this plan becomes a reality," Shawn M. Garvin, EPA Mid-Atlantic regional administrator, said. "By working to reduce its own carbon footprint, the College is educating the next generation of environmentally aware citizens."
W&J student Adam Toomey '12, a double environmental studies and biology major, is following the example being set by the College through his participation in the Campus Sustainability Committee and Green Club. "Washington & Jefferson College is no longer only teaching their students about being more environmentally conscious, but is committing to showing them first hand," he said.
Pictured from left to right are Robert East, Jessica Greathouse, Tori Haring-Smith and Adam Toomey.