Baylor Sustainability continues to conserve

Director of sustainability & special projects Smith Getterman for Baylor Sustainability Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Kendra Pell | Reporter

Just by walking through campus, one can spot the many recycling bins placed around each building. These are just the beginning of Baylor Sustainability’s efforts to encourage students, faculty and staff to recycle and conserve energy on and off campus.

Anything to do with energy and water conservation, recycling on campus and the green movement is initiated by Baylor Sustainability, said Smith Getterman, director of sustainability and special projects.

“Right now, we have four goals that we hope to achieve by 2020 that we call the Sustainable 2020,” Getterman said. “The first is we hope to achieve 20 percent locally-sourced foods in all of our residence hall cafeterias. The second is we want to get a 30 percent diversion rate for wastes. Thirdly, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent. Lastly, reduce our water use by 17 percent.”

According to Getterman, water consumption on campus has already been reduced by 20 percent, which exceeds the goal much sooner than expected.

In order to record these improvements, Baylor Sustainability and their partners track the data over the course of the year and compare it. Getterman is confident that the Baylor Sustainability is on track to reach these goals, but he said the biggest challenge will be the reduction of waste, mostly because of the growing population of the university.

Despite this challenge, Baylor is still at the top of its class in regard to sustainability.

“For a university this size, we are one of the most environmentally conscious in the country,” Getterman said. “The Sierra Club just named us to their 2016 ‘Cool Schools’ list, meaning we are one of the greenest schools in the country, and it’s the third time we have made it on that list.”

According to the Office of Sustainability 2014 Annual Report, Baylor finished first overall in the Big 12, and third in the state of Texas in Recyclemania, an annual national recycling competition among college students.

Los Altos, Calif., junior Shelley Noreen, Baylor Sustainability intern, said much progress has been made just over the past couple years in efforts to promote conservation all over campus.

“Since my freshman year, I’ve seen more people on campus actually recycling, so having all of the recycling bins everywhere has made a big difference,” Noreen said. “And then with Move-In Days, people have become more aware that there is recycling on campus.”

For more information on the Baylor Sustainability Department and how you can help improve the environment around us, visit Baylor Sustainability.