Sustainability

Sustainability Co-chair updates on club projects

Student Sustainability Task Force Co-Chair

Hi! I’m Elizabeth Anderson, co-chair of the Student Sustainability Task Force. This semester, SSTF is working on several projects to encourage sustainability at Rensselaer.

As Connor Armbruster wrote several weeks ago, SSTF would like to get solar panels for RPI. We have continued discussing the feasibility and sizes of solar panels we could get, and have decided on a small system to raise awareness about the benefits of solar energy. The small solar panel system could be used by students to charge laptops and phones while being outside in the fresh air. Last week was so nice out; I spent some time outside studying. My laptop battery doesn’t last as long as it used to and it is frustrating when I discover that my battery is low and I have to go inside.

Our other large project, which we are doing in conjunction with EcoLogic, is the Sustainability Report 2014. We are compiling data across campus on many aspects of sustainability, from energy use, to academics, to student environmental programs. We have already received data and support from some Rensselaer administrative staff members. If you would like to help with the sustainability report, or if you have information that might be interesting to us, please e-mail sustainabilityreport@union.rpi.edu.

Another project, which should be complete soon, is providing network bases for students interested in sustainability. During 2010-2011, the e-mail list Ecotalk was created for students, faculty, and administrative staff to share ideas, programs, job leads, and more. An e-mail list has been created for environmental club officers. SSTF has also created a Facebook group, RPI Students for the Environment, for any RPI student interested in environmental issues. You do not have to be a member of any environmental club to join, though if you are a member, you definitely should join! We will be publicizing club meeting times and places through the Facebook group (in addition to the individual club e-mail lists).

SSTF is working on a website makeover. The old website was very difficult to update and had gotten incredibly out-of-date. Our new website is a WordPress blog with blog posts and information about various events and projects. We are hoping to make the website a good source of information for students, prospective students who are exploring club websites, and faculty/staff. The website can still be found at sstf.union.rpi.edu. Another website we are working with RPI administrative staff to update is the Sustainability Clearinghouse at http://sustainability.rpi.edu/. This website, too, is very out-of-date. Given that the Sustainability Clearinghouse is on the main RPI site as opposed to the Union site, prospective students are more likely to find it. We are hoping to revamp the Sustainability Clearinghouse site—with RPI administrative staff help, of course—to better reflect the projects and initiatives around campus. I know that I explored RPI’s website when I was looking at colleges, as well as after I was accepted. I wanted to get a sense of the clubs I might join.

If you belong to an environmental club at RPI and want to join SSTF and promote your projects, events, and club meetings through SSTF’s projects, contact us at sstf@union.rpi.edu. If you are not involved with any environmental clubs and would like to be, or have a project related to sustainability, you can also contact us.