Wittenberg will be featured in the 2015 Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for its sustainability efforts and initiatives on campus.
The Green Guide highlights 353 colleges that “show a strong commitment to sustainable practices,” according to the Princeton Review’s website.
“Every year, the Princeton Review solicits information from different colleges and universities about their sustainability efforts on campus,” said Ruth Hoff, chair of the department of foreign languages and literatures and associate professor of languages. Hoff also serves as the faculty coordinator with the sustainability task force on campus.
Wittenberg made the list two years ago in 2013 and has made more “green” improvements on campus since then.
The addition of composting food waste is one of those changes; “composting was introduced in the summer of 2013, and includes all organic waste generated by students reclaimed from the conveyor system in the CDR,” said Noah Ristau, general manager of campus dining services. “Composting averages 800 pounds per week during the traditional academic year.”
Hoff said, “the food waste is being picked up by a service and being taken somewhere to compost, which is removing a lot of weight from the landfill.”
Campus Dining Services use many other strategies to cut down on wasteful consumption. Some of these include purchasing with local vendors, recycling 97 percent of cardboard, using only free-trade products for all coffee venues and thawing frozen food in coolers instead of under running water, according to Ristau.
Wittenberg is also working on curriculum development with regards to sustainability.
“The First Year Seminar this year, we added two days where sustainability was the focus of the conversation,” Hoff said. “Students did projects where they were tracking their own resource consumption and answering some questions about that and reflecting on that and thinking of some ways of reducing consumption on campus.”
Hoff added that “there’s been a grant from the National Science Foundation to expand our curriculum here on campus; every year, we’ve been taking an inventory of how many courses are offered in the area of sustainability, and we’ve grown from the last audit to this one, and now with this grant, we hope to increase even more [and] have more course offerings.”
As far as what’s to come for the future, the task force wants to see recycling numbers go up.
Sophomore Sage Pence, P.o.W.E.R. (Parliament of the Wittenberg Environmental Revolution) Prime Minister, encourages students to do simple green tasks like recycling and turning off lights when not in use.
“It may seem useless on an individual scale, but when the whole campus begins to do it and they bring that mindset back home, it can make a good dent,” Pence said.
Hoff added, “We still really need to improve our recycling numbers. When we compare ourselves with other campuses, we have a lot of room for improvement. That’s part of the reason we’re trying to do more with the recycling labeling; we’re checking to make sure there’s recycling bins in every classroom and also that in the dorms, they’re available and accessible.”