Sustainability Task Force meets to discuss goals

By Evan Walsh, Transcript Reporter

Members of Ohio Wesleyan’s Council of Student Affairs are working with faculty and administrators to make the university more environmentally friendly.  

The Sustainability Task Force meets weekly and discusses those ways in which the university can prioritize sustainability.

The task force is currently led by WCSA representatives Caroline Hamlin and Ryan Bishop, but was begun independently prior to this year.

On Sept. 7, Hamlin and Bishop spoke with faculty about the possibility of hiring a program coordinator. Bishop said he feels this is an important first step in committing to the group’s goals.

“Our focus is to find someone to take this position because everyone [from academic and non-academic departments] has commitments of their own,” Bishop said. “Pushing for those big goals will be more achievable if we have someone there.”

Included in last week’s discussion was the proposed creation of an Environmental Sustainability major. This would require restructuring the curriculum of several courses and finding qualified professors.

Professors from several different departments, as well as non-academic personnel, attended the meeting. They expressed their optimism and concerns, particularly about budgetary choices.

Besides providing students with a new learning opportunity, the Sustainability Task Force’s goal is to make their “green” impact in a more concrete way.

By making changes to OWU’s residential facilities, students would apply what they learn in their classes to improve the condition of the place where they live.

Their plan is to make certain, unspecified living units LEED certified by 2018.

To encourage participation, students involved in Sustainability Task Force projects may receive academic credit.

Students familiar with the group’s goals are receptive to them and want to see these initiatives affect important changes.

According to Sumner “Chappie” Wick, “success would make us a role model for other small liberal arts schools. I’m glad that the OWU community is taking this seriously.”

Bishop said he agrees with Wick’s sentiment. “We are in a conceptual, building stage right now. A lot of our ideas are good ones but we need professional help, and money for professional help, if we want to succeed,” he said.