The Undergraduate Government of Boston College’s Student Assembly, during its last meeting under the current UGBC leadership, voted unanimously to pass a resolution of four basic recommendations to move the University toward more environmentally sustainable practices. The recommendations came out of a semester-long effort by the Environmental Committee of UGBC in conjunction with the Environmental Caucus. The benchmarking document, and corresponding resolution, were sponsored by Anxhela Mile, MCAS ’17.
The document examined the environmental policies and resources available at approximately 30 schools—including Stanford University, Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame, and Boston University—in an effort to identify feasible, cost-effective, and successful policies to recommend to BC’s administration.
“This is not to discredit BC in any way, shape or form,” Mile said. “What this document is saying is that BC can and should be doing a lot more.”
Mile’s goal is to propel BC forward in the aspect of sustainability, and to help educate students on what they can do to help.
In a 41-page document, the group outlines its research on 31 institutions, and outlines four initial recommendations for BC.
The first recommendation that the group presented is for BC to establish and implement goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Within this point, it is recommended that BC set a baseline year, identify a target year to reach the goal, and develop means to reach their goal.
The second recommendation is for BC to “investigate the possibility of establishing solar/renewable energy on campus to cut costs.”
Mile thinks that solar panels are the easiest and most plausible route for BC to move in the direction of more renewable energy. She stated that there are many tax credits that the University could take advantage of.
“Maybe upfront, the cost might be a lot, but considering how much BC’s endowment is, it’s a matter of priority,” Mile said.
The next recommendation is to update the Office of Sustainability’s website to include more content, more programs, and more opportunities for students and faculty to get involved with sustainability initiatives. The benchmark document lists five different student groups—EcoPledge, BC Bikes, Climate Justice, RealFoods, and Environmental Caucus—to include on the website, three of which are currently listed.
The current website lists campus sustainability initiatives and information on 11 different facets of sustainability including green buildings, recycling, transportation, and future plans. The website also lists non-BC sustainability organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy, and Japan for Sustainability.
The final point is education focused, recommending that the University consider adding climate change or other environmental classes into the University’s core course requirements, and expand research facilities and opportunities for students to get involved.
Notably, the document doesn’t include anything about divestment. Mile said that the she left out divestment from fossil fuels because it was already a movement that has a substantial amount of momentum behind it, then stated that her recommendations are very tangible and concrete steps that the University can take.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor