The number and reach of environmental student groups inspired the formation of the Princeton Environmental Network (PEN) in 2006. Organized by the Office of Sustainability, PEN strives to coordinate across the broad span of environmental initiatives addressed by Princeton's student leaders and groups to effect lasting change on the Princeton campus.
Goal, Strategies & Progress
Goal: Encourage campuswide student initiatives in sustainability.
Strategy: Facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration among environment- and sustainability-focused student clubs and through PEN.
Since 2006, the Office of Sustainability has coordinated biweekly PEN meetings for all leaders of environmental- and sustainability-focused student clubs and organizations. Representing more than 1,000 Princeton students, groups currently active in PEN include:
- BEE Team
- Ecology Representatives (EcoReps)
- Energy Service Corps
- Engineers Without Borders (EWB)
- Environmental Discourses on the Ingestion of Bugs League (EDIBL)
- Garden Project
- Graduate Student Government (GSG) sustainability representatives
- Greening Dining
- Greening Princeton
- Greening Princeton Farmers Market
- Greening the Street
- Outdoor Action (OA)
- Princeton Sustainability Committee (PSC) undergraduate and graduate student representatives
- Slow Food Princeton
- Student Environmental Communications Network (SECN)
- Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
- Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE)
- Students Working for Free Trade (SWIFT)
- U-Bikes and CycLab bike co-op
- Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Sustainability Working Group
Cross-club collaborations fostered by PEN include:
- USG sustainability survey and pledge
- 350 Day (International Day of Climate Action)
- Earth Day Extravaganza
Strategy: Foster student-run residential college initiatives in sustainability.
- The recruitment and engagement of undergraduate student ambassadors for recycling and resource conservation in the residential colleges — the EcoReps — has continued. Under the sponsorship of the Office of Sustainability in partnership with Building Services and the student-based PEN during the past three years, there have been consistently more than a dozen active EcoReps.
- Student-run residential hall-focused sustainability initiatives have included a water filter carafe sale, end-of-the-year move-out collection sites and subsequent redistribution of unused school supplies, plastic bag collection bins, the Pull the Plug Campaign, and RecycleMania.
Strategy: Encourage diverse student-generated sustainability services, outreach and events, and maintain a dedicated calendar for those activities.
- Building on past efforts to "green" Reunions, in 2011 the EcoReps, in collaboration with the Alumni Association and Building Services, expanded their efforts to promote recycling from two to 11 Reunions sites and developed a pilot program to educate Reunions cleanup crews to further increase recycling rates. The number of recycling receptacles along the P-rade route has also doubled since 2009.
- During spring 2010, the EcoReps launched a pilot residential education program in Rockefeller College on sustainability with the support of college administrators to educate freshmen. This program continued in 2011. The sustainability residential education program is now offered on the list of optional programs for all residential colleges in both fall and spring semesters.
- Students collaborating through the PEN group launched the fourth annual Earth Week Fest in 2011 and organized campus events around 350 Day (International Day of Climate Action).
- Since 2009 the U-Bikes and CycLab co-op programs have organized and/or participated in numerous events, including the Greening Princeton Farmers Market, Sunday CycLab Workshops, the annual campus bicycle safety event and the FNA 2K11, a mini-bike race to raise awareness of bicycling as a green form of transportation.
- Greening Princeton hosted its third annual 5k fundraising run for the local Stonybrook-Millstone Watershed Association. The 2010 race raised more than $600 for the watershed association.
- The Energy Service Corps student group, in partnership with New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG), conducted a number of in-home energy audits for local community members.
- The Princeton Garden Project continues to provide fresh herbs and produce to Dining Services from three gardens on campus: one near Frist Campus Center and two near Forbes College.
- The Food Justice Foundation, a new nonprofit started by Princeton students to address problems of food access in the inner city, led a panel on "Food Access and Health in the Urban Context" in partnership with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement.
- The Office of Sustainability hosts the University's only centralized public calendar for all sustainability-related meetings and events, including student organization meeting times.
- In spring 2011, SURGE led its second student delegation to Power Shift, a clean energy conference in Washington, D.C. About 50 student leaders participated in both the 2009 and 2011 trips.
- The Environmental Discourses on the Ingestion of Bugs League (EDIBL) held two dinners in the 2010-11 academic year. The initiative, founded in April 2010, strives to create awareness about alternative sustainable food systems through intimate dinner events that challenge culturally accepted notions of taboo foods, and by educating people about the critical role that insects play in food systems globally.
- Publicize PEN meetings and sustainability events through the sustainability kiosk to be installed in Frist Campus Center in 2011-12.
- Conduct the University's first LED bulb exchange program for students.
- Encourage the reduction of food waste on campus through student-led pledges and events.
- Increase student involvement in global/national climate change and sustainability campaigns.
- Explore new common student advertising/promotional spaces as an alternative to postering on campus to reduce waste.
- Update the Guide to Living Green at Princeton.
- Develop a venue for students to present their initiatives and research using the campus as a laboratory for sustainability problem-solving.
- Expand community outreach activities, such as student involvement in the biennial campuswide Sustainability Open House.
- Offer student-led Campus Green Tours.