At its weekly meeting on Wednesday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed issues of campus sustainability, after a presentation on Bowdoin’s Carbon Neutrality initiative from Keisha Payson, the coordinator for Sustainable Bowdoin. 

Bowdoin’s commitment to carbon neutrality began in 2007 when President Mills signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, pledging to set a date for the college to become carbon neutral. Bowdoin’s “Blueprint for Carbon Neutrality” was released in 2009. The plan called for setting a 28 percent decrease in emissions, and the purchase of carbon offset credits to  achieve carbon neutral by 2020.  

Payson argued that Bowdoin’s various sustainability initiatives have thus far been successful in reducing the college’s carbon emissions in 2012. The college’s greenhouse gas emissions were 24% lower than their predicted baseline total. However, she also acknowledged that achieving complete neutrality by 2020 was a challenging goal. 

“It might not be realistic,” Payson said. 

Payson ended by asking BSG to continue to help promote a sustainable philosophy on campus, noting that the Sustainability Office has the goal of “making sure the student body is aware of this use, and knowledgeable about what they can do in their own life and own community.” 

Following this discussion, Vice President of Facilities and Sustainability Tessa Kramer ’13 introduced a proposal to spend $500 to install an energy efficient Xlerator hand dryer in one of the upstairs bathrooms of Smith Union. Should the proposal pass, Sustainable Bowdoin will purchase an identical dryer for the other restrooms.

Kramer argued that the dryers would help reduce paper waste, and “show BSG’s support for sustainable initiatives.”

Coming on the heels of a presentation on Bowdoin’s large-scale sustainability projects, Kramer acknowledged that the purchase of one hand drier might seem trivial. However, she ended by saying, “ it’s a small gesture, but a gesture we think is important.” 

The proposal will be voted on at next week’s meeting.