On Earth Day, April 22, Students for Georgetown, Inc. announced both its plans to compost all waste from food preparation at the Hilltoss and the launch of The Corp Sustainability Committee to further engage with environmental issues and increase sustainability within the organization. As one of the largest student organizations on campus, The Corp’s new commitments to environmental sustainability are admirable. These new initiatives should remind the student body and the university that environmental sustainability at Georgetown can be improved through short-term and long-term commitments.
This editorial board urges community leaders and the university to ensure that the university’s next dining vendor, whether it be Aramark or otherwise, dedicates itself to composting food waste as well as sourcing its ingredients locally. Aramark’s contract with the university ends in May 2016, and it is currently composts its waste from O’Donovan Hall. If the university wishes to continue its commitment to environmentally conscious policy, administrators and students should prioritize selecting an auxiliary services provider dedicated to sustainable food sourcing and waste management.
Environmental sustainability should also play a more prominent role in the 2018 Campus Plan, which will be finalized in the fall semester. With the campus already affected by construction projects such as the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall, as well as proposals to tear down Reiss Science Building and renovate the Yates Field House, the campus plan must make sure developments are attaining environmental standards. While future construction and renovation will be held to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver environmental standards as noted in the campus plan goals, striving for the LEED Platinum standard — the highest and most resource-efficient level — would both showcase Georgetown’s commitment to sustainability and become more environmentally conscious.
It is reasonable for the university and the larger student body also to advocate for the maintenance of existing green space. Increasing green spaces on rooftops is also a scientific way of regulating heating and cooling throughout the year. Ensuring that more space is allocated for natural vegetation and greenery is a visible and equally beneficial way of showing the university’s commitment to the environment and becoming more sustainable overall. Schools such as American University and the University of the District of Columbia have already established buildings with green spaces on roofs, displaying how feasible such goals can be.
Increasing Georgetown’s commitment to environmental sustainability can extend far beyond the aforementioned issues. The university and the whole student body should reflect on The Corp’s efforts and consider Georgetown’s evolving role in protecting and enhancing our existing environment. Although it will be a year until the next Earth Day, Georgetown should always strive to prioritize the growth and future development of its sustainability policy.
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