Sustainability on Campus
While for years there have been many independent efforts at greening the Sarah Lawrence Campus, as well as student attitudes, the November 2006 conference of the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities' Greening the Campus: Exploring Practices, Curriculum and Management in Higher Education served as a springboard for establishing a comprehensive long-term plan for campus greening, including the formation of a campus-wide sustainability committee. Sixteen members of the Sarah Lawrence community, the largest delegation at the conference, attended the meeting.
Two years earlier demonstrating the College's commitment to campus sustainability, the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center, one of the first environmentally responsible visual arts buildings in the country, opened. Heimbold earned the distinction of being the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified college or university visual arts building in the country.
In January 2008, the College community joined over 1,000 colleges and universities in Focus the Nation, a national teach-in on solutions to global warming. Raising awareness at the local level, Sustainable SLC—a student environmental group—planned campus-wide events to promote freedom from fossil fuels including a bike ride, an art show, and a clothing swap. The following month, SLC welcomed one of the nation’s leading experts on climate change, president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone. In a lecture titled “Climate Change: Human Causes and Responses,” Cicerone addressed ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions such as geo-engineering.
February 2008 became Footprint Forward Month at SLC. Campus residence halls and administrative offices engaged in an energy-saving competition to reduce the community’s carbon footprint and increase the overall sustainability of the campus. Aiding in this endeavor, the office of Operations and Facilities encouraged students, faculty and staff to turn in incandescent bulbs in exchange for CFLs.