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Sustainability Fair Showcases Conservation Work On Campus

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013

Updated: Sunday, April 21, 2013 23:04

On Thursday, Apr. 11, the Boston College Office of Sustainability sponsored an annual Sustainability Fair that was held on the second floor of Corcoran Commons. The event boasted a number of tables featuring BC facilities departments as well as outside businesses sharing their efforts to help make BC a more sustainable campus. With the help of many eco-friendly companies, BC’s various facilities departments are making a concerted effort to reduce waste and promote recycling and other methods of reducing our carbon footprint.

Among the BC facilities departments represented at the fair was BC Dining Services. Representatives from BC Dining shared information with students about their partner, Sysco Corporation, which provides BC with food products, and their efforts to be sustainable. Within the last decade, Sysco has expanded its efforts to include the Integrated Pest Management Program, which helps eliminate the use of fertilizers on food products, and energy savings programs, which have generated energy savings around 35 percent since 2006. Through these and countless other initiatives, Sysco focuses on three main areas of sustainability: food, operations, and community. They work to ensure that their food products are coming from safe, sustainable sources and work directly with growers, ranchers, and processors to guarantee the reliability and high quality of their products. With regard to operations, Sysco purchases and delivers ingredients and other items throughout the U.S., Canada, and Ireland and strives to carry out these orders in the most efficient manner. They also aim to improve energy use in the realm of product transportation.

 BC Dining also purchases food products such as bananas from the Rainforest Alliance initiative, which works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable living by altering land-use and business practices as well as consumer behaviors. Coffee, which is an absolute staple in the lives of BC students, is certified Fair Trade coffee, in keeping with the mission of increasing sustainability at BC.

The BC Bookstore is also taking steps to ensure sustainability within the academic world at BC. BC’s bookstore partners with eFollett to run a store that attempts to reduce its environmental impact in every aspect, from the recycled carpet in bookstores to the Under Armor apparel made from recycled products. The Bookstore also champions recycling initiatives, including textbook buyback and digital textbooks. At the end of each semester, BC students can sell their textbooks back to the bookstore, reducing the need to excessively reprint copies of textbooks and paperbacks for future use. The creation of digital texts entirely eliminates the need for printed textbooks and the waste of resources that accompany them, and also provide students with the texts they need conveniently located on a computer or tablet.

Finally, the Office of Residential Life at BC is partnering with the Office of Sustainability to promote sustainability education to students, as well as to promote more environmentally friendly practices. Within the Residence Hall Association program, there are now “Eco-Rep” positions for students to promote environmental awareness within their living communities and encourage sustainable actions among their peers. BC Res Life will also be implementing a sophomore sustainable living and learning community in Edmonds next year, in an effort to help students become more conscious of our role in preserving our environment not only for ourselves, but also for future generations. Res Life also works with the Office of Sustainability to create a dialogue about sustainability that is fun for students, with initiatives such as the NRG Games, which are a contest between residence halls to reduce energy consumption, and Recyclemania, a recycling competition between universities across the U.S.

In addition to sponsoring the Sustainability Fair, the Office of Sustainability partners with BC Residential Life, BC Dining, and other departments around campus to lessen the environmental impact of BC students and staff. “BC is committed to preserving and protecting our environment through a variety of sustainable practices and initiatives,” said AJ Hernandez, communication and outreach intern for the Office of Sustainability and A&S ’15. “In order to really be men and women for others, BC has a responsibility to ensure the right to a healthy and clean environment.” With the help of both local and big business, BC and its many departments are working to alter the behaviors of this generation to guarantee that future generations can live in the same world that exists today.

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