The President’s Sustainability Committee aims to increase awareness of environmental issues and the impact Brookhaven can have.
By Jake Griffin
Copy Desk Chief
A new committee – the President’s Sustainability Committee – has been created to help Brookhaven College achieve its sustainability goals.
Over the past decade, Brookhaven has worked to address the complexities of sustainability on campus. A districtwide planning session was held in August and focused on sustainability and resiliency.
Thom Chesney, Brookhaven president, will serve as president of the committee.
“In 2007, a small group of Brookhaven employees pushed to initiate recycling on campus,” Chesney said.
In a campuswide email, Chesney announced his search for members of the President’s Sustainability Committee Sept. 8. He said he hopes to set realistic short-term goals and actions while continuing long-term initiatives. The committee will set those goals at a planning station Nov. 4.
“We were so fortunate we received 22 [volunteers] from the Brookhaven College community, faculty, staff and administration,” Carrie Schweitzer, director of sustainability, said.
The committee’s responsibilities include achieving carbon neutrality, teaching climate change and sustainability, raising awareness within the community and institutionalizing sustainable practices.
“I have a deep appreciation and drive for sustainability,” Adam Knoche, an arts adjunct, said in a campuswide email showing his interest to join the committee. “Both my artwork and personal beliefs touch on environmental issues.”
Schweitzer said Brookhaven reports to a nationwide organization called Second Nature. An organization that has worked with hundreds of different colleges to help make the principles of sustainability apparent in more aspects of higher education.
When students recycle, they help preserve natural resources, save energy, reduce landfill waste, reduce pollution and reduce global warming, according to the Brookhaven website. Recyclable items include aluminum cans, cardboard, glass bottles, paper and plastic containers.
Since 2010, Brookhaven has participated in the RecycleMania tournament, an annual recycling competition and benchmarking tool designed to promote sustainable efforts on campuses across the country. In Spring 2016, Brookhaven collected 23,352 pounds of recyclables.
“I teach from the position of stewardship,” Baltazar Alvarez, a world religions adjunct, said, according to a previously published Brookhaven Sustainability newsletter. “We live in this world temporarily; therefore, we should care for it for coming generations.”
Chesney said the campus has accomplished a great deal.
“There is certainly a lot of work ahead. Today we continue that work,” Chesney said.