Weber Gives Optimistic Update on Sustainability
(**The following is Molly Brean's article on The Daily Princetonian. Click here to see the original article.**)
"The University “turned a corner” in greenhouse gas reduction, Sustainability Manager Shana Weber said while presenting the University’s 2010 sustainability report at the Council of the Princeton University Community meeting on Monday afternoon.
The challenge facing the University when it comes to sustainability is “both institutional and individual,” Weber said as she described the University’s progress on sustainability efforts in greenhouse gas reduction; resource conservation; and research, education and civic engagement.
Since the Office of Sustainability was established in late 2006, the University’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked and have begun to decrease, according to a graph presented at the meeting that depicted trends in the University’s emissions. They had consistently risen in recent years, except for a drop in 1996 which corresponded with the opening of the University’s co-generation facility.
The University hopes to reach 1990’s level of emissions by 2020, a goal that Weber said is attainable though “there is still work to be done.”
Weber also delivered on optimistic report on efforts to conserve resources, noting that the University has reduced its paper waste by 11 percent since 2007. Since the University switched from motion-controlled paper towel dispensers to manual ones in 2008, students, staff and faculty have conserved 811 linear miles of paper towels, she said.
The University has also reduced its water consumption by 27 percent since 2001, Weber said. One part of the University’s efforts to conserve water is the ongoing “Drink Local” initiative, which was launched this fall.
Under the program, the University distributed 1,000 reusable water bottles to incoming freshmen and installed dozens of filtered water faucets to sinks in laundry rooms and shared kitchens throughout dorm buildings.
The faucets are meant to make filtered water more available outside of designated “hydration stations” that already exist within dining halls, Weber said.
Dining Services has also worked to make sustainable food-purchasing decisions as part of resource conservation efforts. For instance, 52 percent of food purchases are locally produced, meaning that they come from within 250 miles of Princeton’s campus, Weber said.
In addition, Weber also discussed the popularity of the bike-sharing program U-Bikes. The U-Bikes program is currently at full capacity in rentals of its 200 bikes and has a 200-person waiting list.
Weber ended her presentation with a discussion of opportunities for research and education, including the internship and fellowship opportunities offered by the Office of Sustainability. She also noted that the number of students attaining Environmental Studies certificates has tripled since 2001.
The Office of Sustainability will also hold an open house on Nov. 16 to showcase its work."