By Meghan Fitzgerald, Special to the Chronicle
"Blue and gold make green," said sophomore Patrick Starke when asked about Hofstra's efforts toward sustainability. And with the Princeton Review recognizing Hofstra University as one of 311 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada committed to living more sustainably, Hofstra truly is working to become a "greener," more environmentally friendly community.
From taking simple steps to create less waste, such as recycling and charging ten cents less for beverages purchased in reusable cups, to choosing more eco-friendly alternatives such as purchasing Energy Star appliances and using organic fertilizers, the University is encouraging a lifestyle that is conscious of our effects on our planet.
Dr. Robert Brinkmann, Hofstra's first Director of Sustainability Studies, was appointed by the University to develop a program in accordance with a vision for a greener future. Dr. Brinkmann says he is "thrilled to be in an environment made of a group of faculty and student sustainability activists." The Director hopes to build a program that focuses on the challenges related to sustainability. He says he wants to "challenge the culture of America to do simple things that make a difference, like carpooling and talking about where and what we eat." Additionally, the Director hopes to create a program that focuses on green entrepreneurs – students who have incredible ideas for products geared toward sustainability, and who need the guidance necessary to make their visions reality.
While the condition of our planet has been a concern for generations, it is no surprise that the ominous threats attributed to global warming and our carbon footprint have caused leaders such as Dr. Brinkmann to become passionate about sustainability not only in education, but also in practice.
In accordance, Ms. Teresa Greis, Hofstra's Campus Sustainability Officer, agrees that sustainability is a term that has stemmed from a long evolution of environmental consciousness. Ms. Greis says, "the term is just a wider vision of things we have been doing here at Hofstra for years."
Initiatives such as the Discovery Program, an organized way to provide students with ways to be sustainable and compassionate in their community and the surrounding areas; hydration stations; and a pilot program that allows Hofstra's private hauler, Jamaica Ash, to separate recyclables from waste all contribute to Hofstra's environmentally friendly pursuit. Additionally, Hofstra University is home to a cogeneration plant that produces a quarter of the electricity used on campus, and which Ms. Gries proudly added "uses steam to create power." Hofstra also boasts a 240-acre arboretum of 625 species of trees, making Hofstra's campus a member of the American Public Gardens Association.
Most recently, Hofstra has started an initiative called "Freecycle," in which students can donate unwanted dorm items to their classmates. Ms. Greis says Hofstra's first Freecycle, organized this past May, was a "successful first attempt but needs more advertising." Greis plans to spread awareness about the initiative, and hopes Freecycle will reduce Hofstra's waste and improve the community's awareness of sustainability.
Thus, whether it is educating students, devising new programs with the purpose of a more eco-friendly future or practicing methods to benefit the planet, Hofstra University is most certainly a community dedicated to a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.