Georgetown University Embraces Green Lifestyle
From using fewer plastic water bottles, to testing out electric cars Georgetown University students and staff are dedicated to improving the sustainability of the campus.
It's not always easy being green, but Georgetown University has launched a series of initiatives to make it easier for students and faculty to be environmentally friendly.
“Many of our initiatives are aimed at making it easy and convenient for our students, faculty and staff to make more sustainable choices during their day to day life on campus,” said Audrey Stewart, MCRP, the program coordinator for sustainability in the office of the senior vice president at Georgetown University.
Some of the current initiatives, according to Stewart, include the expansion of water bottle filling stations on campus to eliminate plastic water bottle waste. The program started over a year ago and has since installed 15 water filling stations in nine campus buildings.
Additionally, students living on campus are encouraged to participate in a compost program and the campus is adding environmentally friendly landscape such as green roofing and a 20,000-gallon rainwater cistern under a campus building that captures and reuses rainwater.
“These initiatives help increase the health of our watershed and reduce pressure on municipal infrastructure,” Stewart told Patch in an email.
The university is not new to trying to implement greener solutions on campus.
In 2011, Georgetown University participated in the Toyota Prius development of the next generation Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Two plug-in hybrid cars were donated to the school for faculty and staff to drive for three months. Drivers, selected through a lottery, commuted with the cars for three-months, using the two 220-volt charging stations placed in one of the University parking garages.
Although the testing program ended in 2011, faculty and staff may now utilize the charging stations for their own use.
“Personally, it made me a lot more aware of electric cars and other options, and I started to think about getting one,” GU Business School Faculty Member Reena Aggarwal, who drove the electric vehicle during the trial, said.
However, Aggarwal also discovered through her trial that purchasing an electric vehicle would be unwise at a time where electric charge is limited only to her work place.
Erika Cohen Derr, assistant dean of student engagement at Georgetown University, also tested the Electric Prius Hybrid and enjoyed the money she saved during her three-month trial.
Throughout her testing period she filled her gas tank once, saving nearly $75-$100 per month. When the price of electric vehicles fall, and when more charging stations are constructed in the area, Cohen Derr sees the possibility of buying an electric vehicle for her shorter commutes.
“There was virtually no negatives about this program,” Cohen Derr told Patch. “I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate.”
Through these and other programs Georgetown is making a measurable impact on the environment.
“We’ve reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 20 percent per square foot of building space since 2006,” Robin Morey, Georgetown’s vice president for Planning and Facilities Management, said.
Morey said GU is committed to cutting its carbon footprint in half by 2020.
What sort of green and sustainable changes have you seen in your work place or at your school? What changes have you made in your home?