A Student's Take on Sustainability

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Joe Teresi, a 2009 graduate of Jamestown High School and former communications student at JCC, answers the question: "How green is my college?"

It’s easy to see why Jamestown Community College has been designated a “Tree Campus USA.” This Arbor Day Foundation distinction recognizes colleges that care for and manage their campus trees, connect with the community to maintain urban forests, and involve students in learning opportunities related to trees. JCC is the only community college in New York to receive this level of recognition, which demonstrates JCC’s commitment to follow and achieve its institutional goals and pursue the ideals of sustainability. “Tree Campus USA” is just one of the many examples of how JCC is “going green” and becoming more sustainable and energy efficient. But just how "green" is my college?

Going green is defined by the pursuit of knowledge and practices that will help protect our environment and conserve natural resources for ourselves, future generations, and all who inhabit this planet. Another term associated with the green movement is sustainability, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, calls for policies and strategies that meet society’s present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. JCC’s sustainability committee organizes many efforts to recycle, conserve energy, and educate the campus and community.

Overseen by John Garfoot, vice president/dean of Recycling Binadministration, and co-chaired by professors Deb Lanni and Becky Nystrom, the sustainability committee has secured the Zero-Sort Recycling program, which conveniently allows students and faculty to place any recyclable material in just one bin. Acceptable materials are plastic, tin, glass, paperboard, aluminum, and paper. The bins are readily available and can easily be seen all around the JCC campus. Contents in the bins are emptied frequently and delivered to a location near Buffalo where they are sorted and recycled.

The sustainability committee also promotes energy saving ideas. JCC’s sustainability coordinator, Wendy Sanfilippo, forms strategies for the college to utilize energy efficient technology and reduce its carbon footprint. She works on calculating JCC’s green house gas summary, which highlights annual emissions and categorizes energy consumption.

“In my short time here at JCC, I have spoken to many students, staff, and faculty who want to make a difference in the ‘business as usual’ way our society operates in order to reduce global warming,” Ms. Sanfilippo says. “Colleges like JCC and universities around the world are producing graduates who understand climate change issues and will be able to influence future policies and actions within their own fields of work.”