This Friday, Red Square will go green.

In conjunction with other Georgetown environmental groups, the Georgetown University Center for the Environment will host the Green Square Fair, an event aimed at highlighting the impact of students, faculty, administrators and local businesses who work together to make our campus and community a more environmentally sustainable place to live. With games, prizes, student performances and popular local food vendors, Green Square Fair promises to be informative and fun.

However, raising environmental awareness and working towards meaningful “green” changes, both on campus and in our community, will require more than just one afternoon of themed activities.

Every day, dozens of student groups at Georgetown, including the CFE, the GUSA Office of Sustainability, Community Garden, Corp Green, GU Energy and the Farmers’ Market are doing their part to promote environmentally-friendly practices. Environmental issues intersect with every facet of daily life, a phenomenon evident in the variety of groups here at Georgetown with environmental initiatives. From the Georgetown fossil fuels divestment campaign, which aims to reform the investment policy of the university to exclude any involvement with unsustainable energy giants, to the Community Garden that is working to expand gardening space on campus, there is a niche for every interest.

Georgetown has launched several green initiatives on campus, but there is significant room for improvement. Oberlin College in Ohio has long been leading the green movement among American universities. In addition to installing solar panels and an advanced recycling system, Oberlin implemented a web-based computer program in 2005 that monitors the amount of energy and water used in dorms, saving both resources and money. Georgetown has plenty of recycling receptacles, but they are not clearly labeled; it installed water bottle filling stations, but not nearly enough of them; and has provided recycling bins in some dorms, but not in all.

To be sure, the administration has been helpful and cooperative in helping the CFE and other student environmental groups rectify these problems. For example, by the next academic year there will be recycling receptacles in every dorm room, apartment and townhouse, and every incoming freshman will continue to receive reusable water bottles. There will also be a new focus on recycling and other environmentally friendly practices during New Student Orientation so new students are aware of their environmental impact the moment they set foot on campus.

With these efforts, the CFE hopes to impress upon all students that every single student can do his or her part to improve the environment. Climate change and other environmental issues have been wrongly categorized as part of a left-wing agenda; the truth is, people of all political leanings should and do care about environmental issues. On April 24, the CFE is screening Carbon Nation, a documentary that emphasizes a non-partisan approach to climate change. In fact, the documentary bills itself as “a climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change.” The movie follows a farmer, a colonel, a geothermal pioneer and a former CIA director as they discuss the various economic, social and personal benefits of green living.

As students, we do not yet have the authority to make laws impacting the environment on a national scale, but we do have the power to encourage our university administration to make sustainability a priority. As the next generation of legislators, journalists, scientists, lawyers and parents, we have a responsibility to protect the earth for our posterity. This is no small task and there are no easy solutions, but changing the way we think about the environment and becoming involved in the environmental movement here on campus is a sizeable first step.

April is Earth Month, but that does not mean we forget about environmental issues the rest of the year. So come out to the Green Square Fair and enjoy grass-fed burgers, play games and win prizes, but most importantly, find a cause, get involved and learn how you can help become part of the environmental programs here at Georgetown.

Laura Wagner is a sophomore in the College. She is a sports columnist for The Hoya.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*