By Ronny O'Leary, Columnist
We often hear about Hofstra's efforts to "go green." In some ways, the university has made real strides in improving our environment. For example, the Blue Beetle enables students to go shopping and get to the train station without taking a car. This cuts down on the amount of gasoline that we use.
There is a cogeneration plant below the student center. Ordinarily, plants produce electricity and emit some of the energy as waste heat. The cogeneration plant collects and utilizes the heat energy that would otherwise be wasted. Finally, some buildings, including the Personal Fitness Center and the Student Center, have Hydration Stations. These water bubblers allow people to obtain filtered water with reusable bottles.
Despite this progress, there is still room for improvement in many areas. According to Mike Stankiewicz of the Students For A Greener Hofstra, there is a plate-first policy in which the cafeteria workers are supposed to give students the option of using a ceramic plate first before a disposable plate. In theory, this cuts down on the amount of waste from disposable containers. However, if the cafeteria is busy, this policy is not fully enforced, according to Stankiewicz. In addition, the university still gives out pamphlets that show when movies are playing in the Student Center Theater.
However, the movies are also advertised in the weekly events updates that students receive via email. We could use less paper if we just used the event updates or even if the university emailed the movie schedule instead of handing out pamphlets. Making these improvements would decrease our impact on the environment.
However, there are two things we can all do as individuals. The first is to become more aware of our impact on the environment. For example, people could get involved with Students For A Greener Hofstra, which meets every Tuesday at 8:30 P.M in Brower 102. In addition, the university is promoting awareness with programs like the Small Farm Summit on April 14. This event will feature educational presentations, keynote speakers, and interactive workshops. Once we become aware of our impact, we as individuals can start making changes in our lives. Of course, the stress of schoolwork can cause people to become so caught up that they do not consider how they affect the environment. This is understandable; however, making changes is not difficult at all.
Indeed, the experience of going green can be very pleasant. For example, I never turn my light on, preferring to fill my room with natural light. Furthermore, rather than turning on the air conditioning when it is warm outside, I open my window so I can receive some fresh air.
Everyone will probably prefer to make their own changes, but every measure we take will have a positive impact, and we can feel good knowing that we are improving our environment. Stankiewicz puts it this way: "Nothing trumps the satisfaction you get from making a difference, no matter how little it is."