Green is the new crimson. At least thatís the message Harvard University has been promoting the last couple of years, according to Erik Fredner, a senior who cleans residence halls as part of the Harvard Dorm Crew. He has noticed pushes for a greener campus since his freshman year.
Harvard received its 50th LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the beginning of August, garnering six more since then, according to Colin Durrant, the university's Manager of Sustainability Communications. Those record-breaking 56 certifications -- more than any other university in the world -- highlight the school's environmental efforts.
There are also 36 additional building projects that are registered but not yet certified, meaning Harvard is on track to have 92 certified building projects, Durrant said in an email.
In April, the university announced a 10 percent decline in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Harvard Gazette.
"I respect [Harvardís] commitment to going green," said Ph.D. student Colleen Anderson. "I think itís something that more schools or institutions should think about doing."
Graduate student Adam Stack said he has noticed the green changes "in a lot of practical ways. Thereís composting widely available. Thereís recycling -- single-stream recycling, so you donít have to separate different materials, so youíre more confident that itís going to get recycled."
"Theyíre good about publicizing the environmental efforts that theyíre doing. They make the students aware through signs and emails," he said.
Sophomore Gary Gerbrandt said itís important for Harvard, as a "pacemaker" for other schools, to be more environmentally conscious but said that LEED certifications are "kind of iffy."
"We threw away way too much trash," he said. "We shouldíve used compostable towels, but we didnít do that. Even though Harvard does have a lot of LEED certifications, itís not necessarily perfect."
Gerbrandt acknowledged that Harvard has taken steps to become more environmentally conscious, like installing a worm composting bin in the basement of Thayer Hall, the dorm he lived in last year.
"Any food or garbage that people had, they could just go down there and feed the worms," he said. "It was a pilot program they were launching, and so theyíre still committed to bringing in new initiatives, which is really cool."
Fredner said that over his years at Harvard, the school has been better about "promoting their greenness a little bit more" by putting up informational posters and handing out CFL bulbs, among other measures. He said the university has also been making a push to use more environmentally friendly cleaning products.
But Harvardís environmental efforts donít quite stretch through the whole university.
"[Harvard] spends the most money on the Yard and the Yard upkeep because they want to show off for the freshmen and the parents. This place is all very much up-to-date with the green stuff," Fredner said, gesturing to the old brick buildings and perfectly manicured lawns of Harvard Yard.
"The houses are a little bit dodgier because those are managed by the building managers," he said.
Photo by Will Hart (Flickr).
By Jeff Fish -- I'm a senior at Suffolk University, majoring in journalism and political science. I'm the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, The Suffolk Journal, and I did a six-month co-op at The Boston Globe. I love politics, reading, movies, TV, and anything pop culture. My mind is a font of useless knowledge.
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