Friday, September 17, 2010

New School Year

The start of the fall semester is always the most exciting time on a college campus. We are off to a great year at Lasell. We continue to improve our environmental efforts on campus and make campus a greener place to live, work, and study. Let me highlight some of the changes and initiatives seen around campus:

-The Environmental Studies major continues to grow. In just our second year we are no longer the smallest major on campus. We are excited to have a new cohort of first-year Environmental Studies students and look forward to working with them.

-Kelly Silvia (ENV '11) spent the summer interning for the Trustees of Reservations on Martha's Vineyard. Kelly worked to help track and protect the endangered piping plover.

-The service-learning trip to Ecuador was successful last spring and will run again this year. Students have the opportunity to travel to Ecuador to work on community service projects with Professor Toffler and Amy Greene.

-A new service-learning trip will run this year working on ecotourism issues in Brazil. Professor Janbek and Professor Van Hyfte will be leading this trip. I am jealous of faculty that lead both the Ecuador and Brazil trips and I hope to get involved in a few years once my children are a bit older.

-Marc Fournier, our Assistant Director for Plant Operations & Sustainability, has taken over for me as chair of the Environmental Sustainability Committee. Marc has an increased budget for this group and is excited to get rolling.

-There are two new recycling stations outside Wolfe and Winslow. We are trying to reduce the number of waste bins on campus that do not also have a recycling bin next to them. We hope to capture more recyclable items as people move between buildings. They look great with Lasell College routed on.

-Enrollment in environmentally themed courses continues to grow. Environmental Science (ENV211), Intro to Environmental Studies (ENV101), and Diversity of Living Organisms (BIO102) are all running near capacity. We will likely run more sections of ENV211 and ENV101 in the spring to meet the growing interest.

-The study abroad opportunities for Environmental Studies majors look amazing. We are encouraging all of our students to consider studying abroad. There are opportunities all over the world. For example, students can spend a semester in Australia studying coral reefs or spend a semester in Costa Rica studying conservation biology.

-Sodexo has introduced a take-away program for lunch but designed the program with sustainability in mind. Take-away is available from the dining hall but students must purchase a reusable take-away container. Students return the container to be cleaned and are given a clean container. This provides students the opportunity to grab some food while on the run but will not add to the waste generated on campus.

-I picked up the northern-red bellied cooters yesterday. They are tiny. My FYS class will be working with the turtles to learn more about human impacts on the species and to help care for them. This year we are going to develop a hydroponic system to grow our own lettuce.