In the twenty-first century it has become apparent that the Green Revolution has quickly risen from grassroots to mainstream. Not a day goes by where someone isn’t talking about the need to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. This can be said true of our very own campus. The Earth Club, along with many helpful faculty including Frank Cantelmo and Thomas Goldsmith, are making drastic changes to the way our campus operates, helping to make it greener and more earth-friendly.
The Earth Club, along with the Sustainability Coordinators and Office of Sustainability is hoping St. John’s will be a part of the “Campus Conservation Nationals” in which schools compete to reduce the amounts of energy they use. President of the Earth Club, Erin Chalmers, is one of the many who support this initiative.
“We must unify the students and send out the message that it’s not just the Earth Club, but all of the students, who are trying to make this fundamental change,” said Chalmers.
The most obvious step St John’s has taken is to increase student recycling by implementing the use of recycling bins. Everyone has come across the red recycling bins somewhere on campus from the D’Angelo Center to St John’s Hall to the Library, which helps keep students conscious about the kind of waste they are producing and whether or not it can be reused. There are also recycling bins throughout resident halls to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to go green.
Chalmers and the rest of the members of Earth Club are doing their best not only to take action but to spread awareness for “what good is action if no one knows about it?” This awareness is spreading like wildfire because just this past Wednesday, the DNY lecture on sustainability had the ability to reach the entire freshman class. The lecture informed students about the changes St. John’s made through their own programs and governmental programs.
Besides the recycling bins, the Earth Club, in collaboration with Thomas Goldsmith, Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation, received grants to design a fully organic garden next to the softball field by Donovan Hall. The garden produces vegetables that are given to the St. John’s Bread and Life soup kitchen.
This garden is special because not only is it organic but it allows students to get their hands dirty and participate in the experience of sustainability. The garden is also a central part of St. John’s sustainability initiative. Since its infrastructure is eco-friendly, it efficiently uses water and the soil comes directly from the Rocket compositing machine. The Rocket, which helps create compost useful for making the soil richer, is located behind Montgoris and uses leftover food from the cafeteria and coffee grinds to create the compost material.
Chalmers’ favorite accomplishment is the composite initiative.
“We’re harnessing the power of nature and it makes such a huge difference,” said Chalmers.
Calling the compost the “trash of treasure,” Chalmers realizes the significance of it rather than letting the waste sit in a landfill and putting to good use what is salvageable.
Redefining the new goal for Earth Club for Chalmers is her newest endeavor. All of Earth Club’s projects are in their rudimentary stage. She says that besides bringing these programs to their full potential, her goal is to bring awareness to the administration.
“Incorporating sustainability is an inherent part of the University mission,” said Chalmers. “It’s about having a positive future and about taking care of creation.”