Go Green or Go Home
September 21, 2006
Dickinson College’s tried-and-true mascot the “Red Devil” is up for some serious competition. Last year, the environmentally-conscious college introduced the “Green Devil,” a mascot to lead a campaign to encourage students, faculty and staff to practice sustainability on campus. Since the launch, Dickinson’s resource conservation practices have improved dramatically, and the college has taken even more measures to continue to “go green” this year.
The 2006-07 academic year’s Green Devil Challenge will begin with the kick-off event on Monday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Holland Union Building (HUB), College and West Louther streets in Carlisle, Pa. The free event will feature Lora Winslow, founder and director of the Naked Truth Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing people of the environmental hazards of products commonly used in daily life. In addition to Winslow’s presentation, Dickinson’s finest musicians will perform original pieces, and free organic snacks from Appalachian Whole Foods will be served.
Dickinson College has taken numerous other actions to increase environmental awareness on campus. Becki Walker, a 2006 Dickinson alumna, has been hired as a Sustainability Specialist. Four student interns work with Walker to encourage Dickinsonians to follow the “green light.” Additionally, those who are caught speeding down the highway of unnecessary over-consumption and environmental carelessness may be pulled over by a “Sustainability Sheriff.” First introduced last year, the “Sustainability Sheriffs” are a group of over a dozen employees, complete with cowboy hats and badges, dedicated to ensuring that Dickinsonians truly are traveling down the green road. Their student counterparts, members of the Recycling Task Force (RTF), keep a mean green eye on their classmates, ensuring that everyone is recycling properly and consuming resources responsibly. Best of all, in addition to being sustainability ‘nags,’ Sheriffs and RTF members are saddled with small wooden Green Devil coins which are good for a delicious Dining Services cookie. If you’re caught “green-handed” – doing something specifically sustainable – a green devil coin may be your reward.
The sustainability effort also fueled the design of the new “Treehouse,” Dickinson’s “Center for Sustainable Living.” The previous Treehouse had occupancy for ten, but was razed over the summer to make way for the new science complex.
The new Treehouse can host 14 students interested in communal living and resource conservation. Located on West Louther Street near the Kline Center, the Treehouse renovation project is targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. The house is equipped with state-of-the-art technology designed to conserve energy and resource consumption. The bathrooms have dual-flushing toilets that utilize grey water from the house’s showers to reduce water use; the house is designed to harvest sunlight both for interior lighting and to heat hot water in the house for showers and sinks; and a pellet-burning stove in the living room cuts down on fossil fuel requirements. The energy monitoring office, which is located just off the house’s main social space, will allow the residents to monitor their utility consumption in ‘real time’ – maximizing their ability to conserve energy and fulfill their mission of sustainability. Treehouse resident Jensen Gelfond ’08 says, “I am really excited about living in the Treehouse. With the new and improved technology, I’m sure we’ll find creative ways of reducing energy and encouraging others to do the same.”
Dickinsonians also wear their green by riding the red – bikes that is. The college has made over a dozen red bikes available for daily usage; students just leave their ID card at the HUB information desk and head to the bike stable on Britton Plaza in front of the HUB. Not only are these riders reducing pollution, they are improving their health.
Last year, the college reduced overall electricity consumption by 20 precent during the Green Devil Challenges and is looking to improve that number even more this time around. The college’s mascot may be the “Red Devil,” but these days, Dickinson is looking pretty green.
For more information, visit http://www.dickinson.edu/departments/sustainability.