By Megan Smith
Brookhaven College student and Green Team Coalition Co-President Victor Batres is organizing a petition to hire a sustainability program director at Brookhaven.
This initiative is long over- due. Brookhaven has been concerned with sustainability for years, and it is time for us to take the next step in establishing ourselves in this field. As inhabitants and caretakers of this planet, we have an obligation to use sustainable practices to lessen our impact on the environment.
The GTC aims to do just that. However, this group is currently co-chaired by Assistant to the President Carrie Schweitzer and Facilities Director Tommy Gallegos, two staff members whose job descriptions do not entail overseeing sustainability initiatives for the school. Thanks to their good leadership, the GTC has been a steadily growing success since it started. However, the sustainability efforts at Brookhaven will not be on track to reach full potential until someone fills this position full time.
Dr. Richard D. McCrary, former interim president of Brookhaven, signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, ACUPCC, in 2009. The commitment recognizes the existence and severity of global warming and it’s “potential for large scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects.”
In order to reduce this impact, the commitment out- lines a plan to implement sustainable practices on cam- pus with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Brookhaven submit- ted a Climate Action Plan to ACUPCC in May 2012, but was granted an extension until May of this year to deliver its progress report, designed to assess and share progress with stakeholders and the public. A sustainability program director would be in charge of publishing this comprehensive report.
Tracking our progress by publishing a campus sustain- ability report is vitally important. If we don’t know what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong and how to correct our ways, we will never reach our goal of becoming a more sustainable campus.
Brookhaven is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, AASHE, an organization of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to implement sustainable practices.
The AASHE achieves this by “providing resources, professional development, and a net- work of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research,” according to its website.
Brookhaven is taking part in a nationwide recycling com- petition, and soon after, the fifth annual Earth Day Fest. Both Cedar Valley College and Mountain View College have Sustainability Directors, Maria Boccalandro and Lori De La Cruz, respectively.
North Lake College is reportedly looking for someone to fill the position as well. There is obviously an interest in sustain- ability and green practices at Brookhaven and in the Dallas County Community College District, so it is counter-intuitive not to have someone hired specifically to oversee these events and initiatives.
If hired, the prospective director would also oversee the GTC and all seminars, workshops, clubs, events and other activities associated with sustainability at Brookhaven. These initiatives inspire students, staff, faculty and members of the community to be more conscious consumers both on and off campus. The positive effects will reach beyond our campus and influence the way our community treats the Earth, helping build a better future for all of us. After all, that is the goal of higher education.
Schweitzer said she would like the petition to have over 100 signatures before it is presented to Brookhaven President Dr.Thom Chesney on April 14. The GTC plans to have a table set up in the lobby of the S Building from March 31 to April 3 to give students, staff and faculty the opportunity to support Brookhaven sustainability by signing the petition.