Sustainability at Baylor is great, but let’s do more

When prospective students and their teary-eyed parents walk on to this campus, there is a invariably a certain awe that comes with viewing the pristine lawns, the vibrant and strictly manicured gardens and the simple yet complimentary fountains. Baylor all but forces people to take note of its verdant and overly-watered campus as a point of pride in its appeal to incoming students. We at the Lariat are happy to acknowledge that most of the expense and trouble Baylor has gone to over maintaining its grounds has contributed toward making it as sustainable as possible.

As we all know, the world’s resources are being stretched exponentially as our population grows. Energy is becoming more and more expensive as time plows on. However, Baylor has added its name to the ranks of the few schools that value sustainability in all aspects of their business. Paper, plastic and aluminum recycling has long been a practice at Baylor in all of its buildings.

Just this year, Baylor has become 100 percent Styrofoam free, replacing the previously flimsy to-go boxes in the dining halls with sturdy yet completely recyclable paper ones. The Baylor sustainability committee is working on implementing glass recycling as soon as possible. And everyone on campus — students, faculty and staff alike —seems to be considerate and more conscious of littering on campus. This, among other things, is what brings us together as a community instead of people who happen to be brought together in the business of running a university.

However, there is still a long road ahead and much room for improvement. The creek, for example, which runs through campus acquires waste from all over Waco. As the rains usher in the fall, trash from the city and from campus and its surrounding areas build-up along the creek, particularly on the edge of campus near the Baylor Sciences Building where the creek meets the Brazos River. One can’t help but feel sorry for the surprisingly large turtle population that depends on these polluted and trash-ridden waters for a habitat.

Many students have also expressed a willingness to take advantage of an electronic recycling system, in which students could safely dispose of batteries (from old phones or computers), adapters, old appliances and any other waste that may contain toxic material on campus.

These are just a couple of suggestions for Baylor’s Sustainability committee and other groups on campus who share the same concerns. And yes, we are aware of the irony of a print publication (whose product is made of ground trees and chemicals) admonishing an environmentally proactive group to do more. That’s why we speak on this issue, not to raise a double standard or expose ourselves as hypocrites, but to simply point out an area of improvement that might be overlooked amidst the hundred other problems Baylor is facing.

Far from admonishment, we at the Lariat commend Baylor’s sustainability efforts and would like to say thank you for maintaining an interest in promoting a “green” campus. We want to encourage a continuance of these efforts in as many ways as possible in all things Baylor, from recycling and energy conservation to keeping this campus clean and neat at all times. Though Baylor’s motive for such an intensive sustainability program may be mostly for recruitment reasons, it is still a thoughtful and environmentally responsible pursuit for such a huge system. A tip of the hat to Baylor and a Sic ’Em is in order. Well done.