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Editorial: Student involvement can aid green efforts

Nov. 4, 2010

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Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

Baylor's "green" efforts are paying off -- not just the school spirit from recent victories, but sustainability efforts as well. The Sustainable Endowments Institute released its College Sustainability Report Card last week, awarding Baylor a B. This is the university's highest ranking ever and is right below the top two Big 12 schools, University of Texas at Austin and University of Colorado, which both earned the grade of B+.

The Lariat applauds Smith Getterman and his sustainability team for this victory and the university's upward trajectory in these rankings, improving the grade from D- in 2007.

Baylor also earned an A in four of the nine categories. One category that did not make an A was student involvement. Fellow students, this should not be.

This is one area of change that we can control. If we want to make a difference, this is how we can contribute to not only improving our campus, but also the greater environment. Making an impact usually requires great sacrifice. This is an exception.

We can make small changes to our daily actions to make our university more sustainable. Little things can be done every day, like recycling our water bottles, walking or biking to class instead of driving, using the reusable to-go boxes in the cafeteria and getting involved with other green efforts on campus. Though these changes are small and may not seem to have much of an effect individually, when the Baylor Nation unites, these small changes hold many benefits for the greater good.

One step followed by another leads to large actions. The efforts of individual students add up to an influence greater than the effect one committee could have alone. The university's involvement marks the difference that can prevent further damage to our world and, as a Christian university, helps us further our mission of protecting Creation. We are called to be faithful stewards of this earth that we have been given. The university recognizes this in our sustainability policy, followed by the vision that all of Baylor would be involved in keeping it a sustainable place to learn, work and live:

"The purpose of this university-wide policy on sustainability is to acknowledge a commitment to fostering a community that focuses on preserving natural resources, safeguarding quality of life, advancing economic vitality and preparing students for the social, environmental and economic challenges of the future.

"Therefore, this policy calls upon all levels and constituencies of the university to participate in a continuous and ongoing effort to institute the teaching, research, and practices of environmental sustainability and to establish an institutional culture of sustainability."

The efforts of the sustainability committee have been successful, as noted by the College Sustainability Report Card, but the committee acknowledges that its efforts alone will not be enough to achieve its goals. Student involvement is needed to make this university as green in sustainability as we are in our school colors.