Cultivating a greener campus

by Kennedy Blevins

Riverside City College exemplifies a strong dedication to success and

productivity. However, a quick look around the campus shows a less than exemplary

dedication to the future of the planet.

Today’s world is facing a growing crisis centered on the sustainment of a

healthy environment. We need to alternatively produce, reduce, and educate if we

want to save the planet we call home.

In the past five years, RCC has made several advancements to become more

environmentally sound. The Math and Science Building is Leadership in Energy &

Environmental Design or LEED Certified; last year, four parking lots were replaced

with LED lighting and the new Student Services Building will be LEED Certified as

well. LEED certifies buildings based on how green they are built. Builders choose

from the most suitable category for their building. Finished products can be ranked

under: certified, silver, gold, or platinum. While RCC’s new and future buildings are

certified, they have room to reach higher certification. We could take steps to reduce

the energy used to supply all of our buildings.

Many schools have implemented the use of solar panels for alternative

energy. “The amount of funding we would need for new solar is not there yet,” said

Scott Zwart, Director of Facilities. “First I think we need to work toward reduction.”

A single advancement could lead to a radical improvement: recycle bins. A

glance around campus proves we could be more dedicated to a green future. Sure

some students will take the initiative to recycle on their own, but if given the

opportunity, more students would be forced to recycle by seeing the option in front

of them. “In a progressive environment you would find recycle bins next to every

single trash can… You would find not only recycle bins but food waste bins as well;

several different options that would provide some sorting by students and faculty,”

said Preston Galusky, who is a co-advisor for the Student Sustainability Committee.

Zwart says plans to purchase recycling containers are in the works. The estimated

time of arrival for this reduction opportunity is unknown. Availability of recycling

options is a step in the right direction for reduction our carbon footprint that we

must demand.

Groups such as the Student Sustainability Committee give a voice to the

environment on campus. The committee’s goal is to try to “reduce the ecological

footprint of Riverside City College by bringing awareness of sustainability issues,”

said Galusky. The committee schedules movie nights throughout the semester and

meetings every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in Math & Science Room 306. If students

become aware we can begin to demand speed for the progress the college is slowly

making. Environmental challenges are worsening faster than we as a people are

evolving to change our practices all over the globe. We can make a difference at RCC

by showing that we care about the environment, and demanding more steps be

taken in a positive direction. Saving the planet starts here at home.