Students learning to think green

Student organizations  have committed to take simple and effective steps in order to make Butler University a more environmentally-friendly campus.

The Council on Presidential Affairs hosted the second Green Summit on Nov. 9 to provide a forum where students can talk about ways to go green.

The students, who represented  athletics, clubs and Greek life, thought of ways to be greener.

Senior Alex Tallentire, a member of CPA’s green operations committee, facilitated discussion.

Students’ suggestions included  more accessible recycling for students living off campus, reducing use of styrofoam materials in Greek houses and advertising events electronically instead of wasting paper on fliers and posters.

Julie Pakenham, associate director of the PuLSE office, said one way organizations could go green is by emphasizing the importance of reusable water bottles. Bulldogs Into the Streets asked students to bring their own bottles this year, and as a result, 500 fewer water bottles were used.

The summit’s mission was to motivate the students and give them tools to be greener, Tallentire said.

“In meetings, we recommended groups not have paper handouts and to take virtual minutes,” Tallentire said. “When groups have discussions, they can put the notes in a Google document or just online. We suggested simple, pragmatic solutions would be the best way.”

The group discussion focused on educating campus groups about those simple changes.

“I think the biggest outcome of the summit was advocating and educating students on green initiatives on campus,” said sophomore Becky Pokrandt, coordinator of the green operations committee.

Pokrandt said the suggestions in the summit gave momentum to the idea of increasing sustainability.

Sophomore Klara Zierk, the representative from Tau Beta Sigma, said the summit made her more aware of the resources her group uses.

“Talking to other students at the Green Summit about all the wasted paper that ends up on campus from student organizations really made me think about how much my organization uses,” Zierk said. “We will definitely think twice next time before printing and consider using electronic sources to get word out for events.”

Mark Adler, a Butler alumnus and director of special projects for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, was the event’s guest speaker.

Adler gave examples of his projects, like promoting composting, asking for more bike lanes and accomplishing the goal of planting 100,000 trees throughout Indianapolis in 10 years.

Tallentire said he wanted Adler to speak because his projects could inspire students to think of ways they could implement more green practices on campus.

Scott Nemeth, vice president of administration, said the event came at no cost because Adler donated his time and BRICS donated the refreshments.

President Jim Danko spoke about the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment he signed last spring. He committed Butler to the goal of reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately eliminating its carbon footprint.

“I was most interested to hear about the environmental changes that are being put to work at Butler,” Zierk said. “The new Schrott Center for the Arts is going to be LEED silver certified, which means it will be a lot more hyphenate all round.”

At the event, each table contained an iPad with the event’s schedule. Organizers did not use any disposable products and took electronic minutes.

The effort to go green starts with a few student representatives who can spread the ideas to their groups, Tallentire said.

“It’s important to give leaders and representatives the forum to come and learn more about how they can be more green and efficient,” Tallentire said. “Getting diverse organizations in one room to come up with solutions is a great thing.”