Sustainable Bowdoin defends flyer use
To the Editors:
Acadia Senese's opinion piece in the last Orient questioned whether the use of posters by Sustainable Bowdoin is in keeping with the stated mission of that organization. I hope I can help to clear up any lingering confusion surrounding Sustainable Bowdoin's "poster policy."
We certainly believe that an organization devoted to sustainability must be conscious of the environmental impacts of its practices. Our commitment to environmentally responsible publicity, for example, has taken on several forms in the past year. Whenever possible, we try to reduce paper announcements by using alternative means of communication, including faculty/staff/student digests, the Bowdoin Sun, the Sustainable Bowdoin web page (check it out at www.bowdoin.edu/sustainablebowdoin), and radio ads on WBOR. On occasion, we do find that displaying a very limited number of posters is the most efficient means of conveying important information to the Bowdoin community. When making these posters, we use recycled paper, "ABU" (already been used) paper, or both! We further restrict postings to situations where we feel the potential positive impacts of the posters merit the paper use.
You'll be pleased to hear that Sustainable Bowdoin has been active in several additional initiatives to reduce paper consumption on-campus, from encouraging double-sided printing in the computer labs to supporting the Office of Student Records' recent transition to an online course booklet.
I hope this helps to demystify some of our motives. As always, please get in touch with any additional feedback or questions you have-it's always nice to discover that members of the campus community are alert to ways in which we can further increase our level of sustainability.
Sustainable Bowdoin meets the first Monday of each month at 8pm in the ES common space, Adams Hall
Meg Boyle '05
To the Editors:
When in the course of human events, the small tyrannies of many repeated injustices amount to an unreasonable burden, the voice of the people must be heard to shout out in protest. Although the reach of Sustainable Bowdoin has yet to expand enough to be quantified as tyrannical, or unjust, it lays the foundation for such a description.
Its current campaign to rid the campus of the evils of paper cups is as patronizing as it is self-defeating. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that reasonable individuals accept certain measures of waste-reduction, as recycling, energy conservation et cetera. However, we have witnessed an unprecedented backlash at this current paper-cup initiative, and expect that it is an imprudent use of the political capital of such an organization as Sustainable Bowdoin.
The use of "political capital" in the previous sentence may be a misnomer, as it suggests that this came about through some presumably legitimate political process. Rather, it was a decision made by Sustainable Bowdoin's Dear Leader, Keisha Payson, an employee of the College. Had this been a completely student led initiative, complete with student feedback, perhaps it would have been acceptable. However, as it comes from the dictatorial authority of a woman whose salary is dependent upon her saving money for the school, it's clear that the desires of the student body are not a consideration. This is of course, a repeated trend at Bowdoin, as few recent initiatives here have been supported by the students, if they were asked for input at all.
We are also not persuaded by the economics of the issue. The $4,000 and change that could be saved by outlawing paper cups is a paltry sum in comparison to the costs of running a school. Divided up over a student body of 1,600, we save $2.50 a piece. Please credit our tuition accordingly.
Having done away with warm water in the washers, and therefore clean clothes, this is but another step in a campaign that will no doubt result in the institution of the purely obnoxious low-flow shower heads and toilets.
The success of environmentally friendly policies is dependent upon the support of students. We, the undersigned do not support this policy, and we are but a few voices representing the many we have heard voice their opposition.
Sustainable Bowdoin, it would do you well not to fritter away the potential influence of your organization on such an unjust and paltry cause.
Patrick Rockefeller '04
To the Editors:
Patrick Rockefeller, in a recent opinion piece, decried what he perceives to be the trend on the part of media entities and political advocacy groups (most likely left-leaning as I'm sure he would otherwise take no issue) toward encouraging great masses of unwashed young Americans to vote. He holds that those with an apathetic attitude toward elections and the political process in general should stay at home on election day, that the apathetic seem to have a duty to the more politically astute not to vote. Logically, I have yet to decipher any particular merit to the basic principle of his argument. It begs the following question: if a young voter is urged to vote and does so, is that voter manifesting an apathetic attitude? The idea of a totally apathetic voter would seem to rank shoulder-to-shoulder with a proposal for a submarine equipped with screen doors on the playing field of oxymorons--by voting, a person has ceased, at least to an extent, to be apathetic.
The real issue here is how these young voters might cast their ballots. As has been the case since the Vietnam era, nothing seems to terrify conservatives more than college-aged voters with potentially liberal dispositions. Obviously, conservatives have no problems with get-out-the-vote campaigns; as practiced by groups such as the Christian Coalition, these were, to a considerable degree, to thank for the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. Should voters with deeply conservative, Christian views have been told to stay home in November if they hadn't decided to vote on their own? I would be very interested to hear Mr. Rockefeller's opinion on the subject.
As to the right to vote and its accompanying responsibilities, I would remind Mr. Rockefeller that both he and I filled out our draft cards when we turned 18. What more awesome responsibility is there than serving one's country in war time? This is one of the main reasons that the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in the first place. Regardless of draft status, all Americans are bound to act in accordance with the laws of their states of citizenship and the United States. Is this not a responsibility weighty enough to balance with the right to vote? I choose to exercise my right to vote, I feel I have earned it, and I am terribly sorry if my personal decisions at the polls might not mirror Mr. Rockefeller's own.
Michael Saur '02