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Got Sustainability?

By Kaitlyn Sestak, Special to the Chronicle

   When I walked into Hofstra's Physical Plant Department for a job interview, I had
no idea what to expect. First, I had to look at a campus map to find out where the place
even was and then had to figure out what exactly goes on in there. I saw a couple of
familiar terms such as "environmental stewardship" "work orders" and "arboretum", but I
still wasn't sure what I had applied for.
   Since being hired, I have learned so much about Hofstra's Green Initiatives.
Before starting to work with Teresa Greis, Hofstra's Sustainability Officer, my
knowledge of the subject was limited. I  heard on tours that the trash is sorted by Jamaica
Ash, I saw posters in the Student Center advertising a "plate-first" policy, and I read
complaints in the Chronicle that Hofstra needs to "do more." I had never used the
hydration stations, seen the solar panel roof, or thought about the lighting used in the
   What I have realized while working in the department is that there are a lot of
events, regulations, and ideas, but not many students are aware of them. For example,
Greis asked me while I was interviewing her if I knew that Hofstra has been making its
own electricity since 1990 and that "twenty-seven percent of the electricity that Hofstra
uses is produced below the Student Center." I of course had no idea that this happened.
She listed many other things that students are unaware of such as the improvements in
using LED lighting, and the fact that Hofstra is in the Princeton Review's list of 322
Green Colleges. She said, "we want students to recognize what we're doing" and then
smiled while saying, "That's what you're here for -to help us do that."
   So here I am, five minutes after the interview, sitting at a desk figuring out how to
convince a student body of over 8,000 that not only is sustainability important, but that
Hofstra is working towards improving its initiatives every day as well. The most
promising statement I can give is that I have seen a tremendous amount of changes in just
the two months that I have been working here. Poster boards have been created to
advertise a "Sustainable Hofstra", a new logo has been designed, and the website is
getting a complete makeover. The changes are not limited to marketing improvements.
There will be roof and window renovations, a FreeCycling event is being planned for
move-out, and much more. These initiatives will continue throughout the summer and
years to come.  
   We would love to hear from students with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Teresa Greis can be contacted by email at Hofstra University
is always striving to be in the forefront and is continuing with this ambition towards
creating a more sustainable future.  

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