Sustainability: building a green university

Downtown "Old Town" Fort Collins
Downtown “Old Town” Fort Collins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before coming to CSU, I had never been conscious of recycling and tended to brush the thought to the side in my mind, thinking it was someone else’s job. But since becoming a member of a green society known as CSU, it instills in me a certain sense of pride each time I recycle, knowing that I’m factoring in this university’s reputation for sustainability.

According to STARS, an organization that keeps track of universities’ environmental efforts, CSU once again proves to be greenest university in the nation since 2011. For the second time, CSU has outshone its competition and this time broke through the record with the highest score ever recorded by STARS. The first time was 2011 when CSU also got the highest score among universities across the U.S. Among over 300 universities, CSU has proven itself the greenest of them all.

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However, although we just set the record, that doesn’t mean we can just sit back thinking the wind is just going to blow its course. According to STARS elevated standards, we have yet to receive a platinum score, the highest score ever established. This means we still have a lot of work to do before we can be content with our position as a green university.

Since the first time CSU submitted its score to STARS, it has initiated other projects to push the envelope of its rankings. Keep in mind that this is an ongoing process that we need to maintain to sustain the environment for our children and beyond.

Recyclemania, hosted by the CSU dining and services, reminded students to be more aware of what was happening with the environment and simultaneously offered them a chance to contribute to the health of the earth if they weren’t already doing so.

Not stopping there, CSU has dedicated much of its own education initiating environmental stewardship through practical steps. Throughout our CSU campus there are buildings that have installed solar panels on top, including the Engineering Halls. In addition, our campus provides students access to green research in hopes of spreading this knowledge to many others. A large number of courses offered at CSU teach students strategies for environmental sustainability. Because of these efforts, students should be made more conscious of their habits that can either help or harm the environment.

CSU is not the only area in Fort Collins that wants to be eco-friendly. The locals also contribute to some of the university’s environmentally friendly pursuit. Over a quarter of the foodstuffs served in the CSU dining halls is locally and organically grown, saving a lot of money and resources that it would take to import from other parts of our expansive country or the rest of the world. Fort Collins’s biking culture also plays no small role in sustaining the environment. With the campus conveniently located close to the center of Fort Collins, students can quickly race to and fro by bicycle. The relatively flat terrain in Fort Collins also allows friendlier grounds for cyclists.

All of this shows our strong commitment to protect and preserve the Mother Nature that we all love and need. If we can make this trend last, we can continue to pride ourselves in our research and innovation to keep the university green.

What do you think about sustainability? To what extent do you think it impacts you? Maybe next time, when you walk to the dumpster, think thrice before tossing everything in one place like you always do out of habit.