Sustainability

Sustainable student events, present and future

The Student Sustainability Task Force has continued to work on making RPI greener this semester. As you may have seen in last week’s Polytechnic top article, SSTF Chair Elizabeth Anderson ’14 presented the Green Revolving Fund to the Student Senate. Project head Dan Sze ’18 has formed a team of interested students working on the GRF proposal and can be contacted at szed@rpi.edu. Our goal through this project is to get a solid proposal for the inner workings of the GRF and three proposals for potential first projects. Students working on the project will gain experience with writing proposals, researching how RPI’s infrastructure works and how it might be improved to increase sustainability, and be part of a very big and important project.

A Green Revolving Fund works by starting with a sum of money going to a project that has a return on energy—one that saves money such as renewable energy or energy or water efficiency. The money earned back is then used towards other sustainability projects. Harvard University has had a GRF since 1992, and has grown the fund to $12 billion. While we aim to start quite a bit smaller at RPI, the project is earning support from the administration and students; we just need more dedicated students working on making good, solid proposals!

We have also worked on redoing our website, which can be found here: http://sstf.union.rpi.edu/. This website is planned to have not just the basic information about SSTF, but also our history, projects, contact, and sustainability at RPI. It already has links to other RPI clubs and organizations focused on sustainability, and is planned to have more. SSTF is also trying to figure out who to contact to get the Sustainability Clearinghouse website updated; it has not been updated since before fall 2011.

Several other projects are underway in, or partnered with SSTF. Sean Wilson ’15 is heading an Urban Gardening project with plans to design and build a greenhouse. Anderson is working to create a network between RPI alumni and current students involved in sustainability in a project co-partnered with the Society of Environmental Professionals. Vasudha Program Assistant Emily Farella ’16 is working on a project to get water bottle filling stations.

RPI’s environmental clubs have been having a good semester. Congratulations to Terra Cafe, which has had over 200 attendees each week this semester! Their Thanksgiving meal in Russell Sage Dining Hall Second Floor last Wednesday was quite delicious. Congratulations also to Green Greeks, which raised $152.50 for the World Wildlife Foundation through their recycling can/bottle drive. SEP held an event to talk about classes in the Science and Technology Studies Department, particularly Sustainability Studies classes; this event was well attended.

This Saturday, November 24, EcoLogic will be hosting the EcoPrincess Festival in the Academy Hall Auditorium from 1–3:30 pm. As SSTF Outreach Coordinator Kelly Dearborn ’16 wrote two weeks ago, this event is designed to get children excited about environmental issues using princes and princesses. You can contact EcoLogic president Jesse Noviello ’15 at noviej@rpi.edu if you have questions or want to volunteer. This event is also open to the community, and we invite any staff, faculty, or graduate students with families to bring their children!

Lastly, SSTF will be having elections on Wednesday, December 3 for the positions of chairman and vice chairman. If interested in a position, contact Anderson at andere6@rpi.edu.

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