Butler makes changes to promote sustainability

Emily Williams|Staff Reporter

From the construction of new buildings, the campus farm, BRITA water filters, and green installments on roofs of campus buildings, stainability on campus has become a priority of the entire university.

President Jim Danko started a green movement campus when he signed the Climate Change Commitment on April 16, 2012.  At the heart of the changes is the Green Operations Committee, a section within the Student Government Association dedicated to the sustainability movement. The plan consists of two main goals: to have zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to give sustainability a greater presence around the university.

“One of our largest and most ambitious goals was to get a sustainability coordinator on campus,” said Becky Pokrandt, a former coordinator for the committee.

McKenzie Beverage joined the staff in early August as the first ever sustainability coordinator on campus. Beverage earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Indiana University, where she studied sustainable development and policy analysis and interned at IU’s Sustainability Office.

“My job is to coordinate existing sustainability initiatives on campus and to create and implement programming based around sustainability education,” Beverage said. “I want to make Butler a national leader in sustainability. One of my biggest goals is to make the athletic department the greenest in the country. I would also like to develop more internships and have ways for students to easily get involved.”

Senior Aaron Harrison will work closely with Beverage  as a student intern for the at the Center for Urban Ecology. He said hiring her was imperative for the project’s succss.

“I think she was a necessary change,” Harrison said. “There were a lot of disjointed efforts [across campus]. One person would do one thing and another would be doing something else. One person  overseeing these efforts will do well putting new activities into motion and [fostering] old ideas.”

Harrison said not many sustainability-centered organizations existed on campus when he was a freshman.

“This just shows the overall larger commitment Butler is now taking,” Harrison said. “Within the next two or three years, there will be a larger change that will create sustainability to be an issue on everyone’s radars.”

Students can get involved through the campus farm located across the canal in Holcomb Gardens.

Every Thursday from 4-6 p.m., students can purchase vegetables from a produce stand. Internships and job opportunities are available for students who are interested, Beverage said.

The movement is not only student-led but has a focus of the administration as well.

New energy efficient renovations are making Butler greener, too.

The new Pharmacy and Health Sciences building was following national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, criteria.

Green roofs were installed on top of the Pharmacy building, costing about $20,000.

Green roofs help to conserve the storm water runoff. The plants on top of the building collects harmful pollutants and serve as the main source for taking in water. Going through the green roof, the water is filtered and utilized much more efficiently.

The fuel in Butler University Police Department Segways has also been improved to be more environmentally friendly, Beverage said.

“The sustainability movement on campus is at a point right now where things have been going on, but it’s about to expand rapidly,” said Harrison. “If people have ideas, interests or desires, now is the best time to get involved. It’s worth your time and will have big returns for campus.”