Bowdoin hires environmental coordinator
During the 1999-2000 school year, Bowdoin College threw
722.4 tons of waste in the local Brunswick landfill. In contrast, Bowdoin
recycled only 115.4 tons or 16 percent of its trash. As of 2000, the landfill
was 53 percent full and estimated to reach capacity and close by 2013.
In order to combat such statistics as above, in June 2001
the College hired Keisha Payson as an environmental coordinator and coordinator
for the Committee for a Sustainable Bowdoin. Payson, former program assistant
in the Environmental Studies Department at the College, describes sustainability
as "lessen[ing] the environmental impact of everyday campus operations
while looking for opportunities that will also save the college money."
She points out, for example, that it costs more for the College to haul
and dump its trash than to recycle it.
Some of Payson's most aggressive efforts have been directed
at the College's energy consumption. She explains, "Bowdoin's electricity
bill for 2000-2001 was in excess of $1,600,000." In order to lessen
this cost, newer buildings have been designed to be more energy efficient
with features such as double-paned windows to diminish heating costs and
motion sensitive lighting.
Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights, which use one-third
the energy of standard ones, have been installed throughout the campus.
In Coles Tower, in particular, thermostats have been installed in upper
level stories. Instead of unnecessarily overheating these floors and forcing
residents to open their windows during the middle of winter, students
will be able to determine a comfortable temperature. Since this comfortable
temperature will likely be below that which the College normally sets,
Bowdoin will save on heating costs.
In terms of heating, Payson has also targeted the freshmen
dormitories. Eventually, she and the Office of Residential Life would
like to have more than enough on-campus housing available. Then, they
will be able to shut down one of these dorms each year and remodel its
entire heating system.
Other campus residences that have often been overlooked
in terms of sustainability are the Apartments of Brunswick, Harpswell,
Mayflower, and Pine Street. Beginning this year, apartment residents will
be given blue bins to put recyclable material in. Pine Tree Waste Capitol
Transfer will pick up these materials every Tuesday morning. More information
about when the program begins and what time pick up is will be available
Dining Services has been working with Payson to minimize
waste, too. It is working on such ideas as using recycled water in the
dishwasher machines as well as composting, which would divert a large
volume of waste from the landfill.
Computer Information Services will continue to reuse retired
computers by donating them to local schools and other groups. In recent
years, Bowdoin has donated nearly 10,000 pounds of computer equipment
to schools in the towns of Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoinham, and Bowdoin.
Not only did the local schools benefit, but the College diverted all that
tonnage from the local landfill.
While Payson is diligently researching and implementing
new methods to sustain an environmentally sound Bowdoin, she is most interested
in the oldest and most efficient method: student involvement. Students
can become involved simply by privately doing their part: taking a reusable
bag to get a bag-lunch, turning off the lights, and especially turning
off their computers.
In addition, Payson is hopeful that students will work directly
with her. Bowdoin's goal this year is to double the percentage we recycle
and make it 30 percent. Other schools such as Bates and Middlebury recycle
as much as 60 percent. If you are interested and would like to help, please
visit Payson in room 12 of the Tower or call her at x3086.