The Environmental Studies Program and Sustainable Bowdoin made a carbon neutrality presentation to Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) at its Wednesday meeting.
"We have been meeting for a year and a half trying to put a plan together," said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Catherine Longley. "What you're going to see tonight is the end product of that work."
According to Longley, the report is meant to be "dynamic and flexible" and revisited every two years.
"The first step in this process was to figure out what Bowdoin's carbon footstep looks like," said Brooks Winner '10, a member of the Climate Commitment Advisory Committee (CCAC).
Winner explained that the College had to first figure out how much green gas Bowdoin is emitting, where those emissions are coming from and then take the appropriate actions.
The inventory of Bowdoin's carbon dioxide shows that 42 percent of emissions come from on-campus operations such as onsite fuel combustion, College vehicle emissions and fugitive refrigerants; 44 percent from energy consumed on campus, mainly electricity; and 14 percent from off-campus emissions, such as employee commute, transmission loss, college travel and waste.
All of this is equivalent to 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
"That's the big number you need to know," said Winner.
In 2007, the College signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to become carbon neutral by 2020. The 72-page report can be found on the College's Web site.
"It's a pretty ambitious target," said Winner. "[However,] Bates and Colby have not even submitted their plan so we're taking the lead on it and setting the tone."
Program Director of Environmental Studies Phil Camill talked about things the College can do to enrich the academic program to increase environmental literacy.
"The challenge is how can we get the environment infus[ed throughout] the curriculum?" said Camill. "How can we as a community begin to engage in the environment in a very serious way?"
"Climate changes can have a huge impact on your lives and the lives of your kids," Camill said.
He stressed the importance of community and campus collaboration of efforts on campus toward the goal, adding that, "We can't do it alone."
"We need to think of creative ways of thinking about the curriculum so that we can prepare you guys, leaders of Bowdoin, so that when you graduate, you can make difference," said Camill.
According to Longley, the College is taking various measures toward the goal, including making buildings more sustainable; bringing solar-thermal energy to Thorne and the LeRoy Greeson Pool, which consume the most hot water; and introducing new, sustainable vans, the Brunswick "Explorers," which are approved to start in the fall.
Another forthcoming project is the online Web site, on which students will be able to check how much energy each building is using at any time.
"It is a great tool to make it all real and come home to you," said Longley.
After the presentation, the four guest speakers asked for feedback and suggestions. Vice President for Student Organizations Branden Asemah '12 said that for a lot of students, "especially at this moment of their lives being in school, that idea of sustainability is not a big part of it." Saving the environment and conserving is "not something you think about every day," he said.
Asemah suggested that the language be broken down and made "more plain" for students to understand.
The four guests left, and BSG turned to its planned agenda. It approved four proposals.
In its second week of voting, BSG unanimously approved the Brunswick Town Council proposal, which would create a "Town Council Liaison" position on BSG. The liaison would attend bi-weekly meetings on Monday nights.
A total of $2,500 in funding was approved for printers in first year dorms, for which BSG is looking to utilize an "eco-font," which uses 20 percent less ink because of tiny, unnoticeable holes in the copy.
The proposal to follow-up on Entertainment Board discussion was approved for January 23.
Finally, BSG will allocate no more than $1,000 toward funding coupons in the BSG newsletter, which will be coming out at the end of this semester.
In the spirit of conservation, meeting minutes will no longer be included in the BSG meeting agendas from now on.
"We saved 150 pages by removing minutes," said Vice President Anirudh Sreekrishnan '12, clapping and cheering. He added that he cut is "saving us a lot of money, which is good, good, good!"