03 October 2011

Some Good Stuff My Institution Is Up To

My employer, Monmouth University, has been doing some good work in environmental terms.

The University's Community Garden has donated more than 1000 pounds of fresh produce to social services agencies in the community. Read more in the Asbury Park Press or on Monmouth's web site.

They've already installed a bunch of solar panels and are planning to install more; and they've developed a new interdisciplinary minor in Global Sustainability.

They're letting me teach a 200-level course on environment and literature, and I'm in the process of writing a syllabus for an interdisciplinary 400-level course on environment and literature that also brings in history and archaeology.

All this is great stuff, but I also have a list of things I'd love to see the University taken even more initiative on....

I wish the Student Center would stop selling food in plastic and styrofoam plates and containers.  I've talked to the folks in charge about selling a reusable food container analogous to a reusable coffee cup, or at least switching to paper.  So far, no uptake, but I'll keep trying.

There are a handful of bike racks on campus, but the surrounding community isn't very bike friendly, or for that matter pedestrian friendly; I'd like to see the university work with the town on increasing public transit transit, creating bike lanes, and making sure sidewalks are kept clean and in good repair.

And smoking isn't allowed indoors anywhere, but outdoors it's not really restricted. Limitations on smoking within 25 feet of doors aren't well enforced, and in effect push smokers to well-traveled pathways outside buildings.

All in all, though, I'm proud to be part of an institution that's done so much already in encouraging sustainability and environmental stewardship.