New Initiatives Underway

The following is a list of initiatives the College has implemented in the last six months.

Energy

  • Facilities management recently received clearance to abandon no. 6 fuel oil and convert the heat plant to burn no. 2 fuel oil and natural gas. This conversion will put the College in a better position to experiment with bio-fuels and low-nitrogen fuels, if it chooses to do so.
  • This summer, the College kicked off the Sustainability Framework; this study's primary purpose is to create a sustainability building standard for the College’s new buildings and major renovations. A major component of this work will be an in-depth energy study for the College to use to set appropriate energy benchmarks for its current and future buildings as well as recommending infrastructure improvements and renewable-energy opportunities.
  • Working with the Green Advisers, more drying racks for clothing will be available this semester for students to use in dorms instead of mechanical dryers.

Water

  • The College acknowledges that its planned growth will also affect the amount of impervious surface on campus. In addition, campus topography that provides natural areas of water collection may be more appropriate and effective for storm-water management. For these reasons, the Sustainability Framework will also help set campuswide storm-water management goals as well as evaluate and identity low-impact development and water-receiving landscape opportunity areas. This holistic view will enable the College to take advantage of the natural features of the campus, improve its watersheds, reduce the impact of runoff on Crum Woods, and ameliorate runoff problem areas (e.g., areas of frequent flooding).

Transportation

  • A car-sharing program, operated by Zipcar, will launch in September. By providing a vehicle for employees and students to use to run daily errands or attend off-campus meetings, this program could entice members of the College community, who can feasibly get to campus by another means to leave their cars at home.

Waste management

  • The College is looking into a partnership with a local company to compost organic waste off site; this could enable the College to expand composting to more locations on campus and to offer the service year-round.

Overall

  • The Sustainability Committee is launching a new program, the Green Initiatives Fund in September. This fund will provide a means for members of the Swarthmore community (students, staff, faculty, and alumni) to initiate projects on campus that contribute to the College’s environmental sustainability.