The Green Apple

St. John’s University is one of 31 New York City colleges and universities that recently joined New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in his plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% for the year 2017.

The plan is part of PlaNYC, introduced by Mayor Bloomberg in April of 2007. It aims to reduce global warming emissions by 30% in all of New York City by the year 2030. In June, St. John’s University, Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, The New School, New York University, Pratt Institute and 23 CUNY Campuses pledged to accelerate
this goal by 13 years and became known as the 2030 Challenge Partners. The “30 in 10” Challenge calls for schools to evaluate their greenhouse gas emissions and create a
plan of reduction for the next 10 years.

St. John’s plans to commit to the program by performing a full-energy audit to research carbon emissions on campus and will follow LEED standards for all new University constructions, according to a University release. They also plan to convert to dual fuel vehicles in addition to an already-implemented recycling program on each campus.

Mayor Bloomberg’s call of action comes after a study found that 80% of the city’s overall emissions came from energy used in buildings. Of this percentage, 18% came from governmental and institutional buildings.

“Together, NYU, Columbia, and CUNY alone occupy about 38 million square feet of space – the equivalent of 43 Yankee stadiums,” said Mayor Bloomberg at the 2030 Challenge announcement.
“Universities and colleges have a tremendous impact on city life. By accepting the challenge, these schools are not just making a powerful statement. They are helping to make a sizeable dent in the city’s overall emissions.”

Dr. Jim Pellow, the Executive Vice President of St. John’s, supports Mayor Bloomberg’s plan and agrees that universities can make a difference. He noted, “With more than 20,000 students
and 3 million square feet of facilities, St. John’s can have a positive impact on the environment as well as having a positive impact on our students, future leaders of New York, by educating and
engaging them in responsible stewardship of their environment.”

The impact of university on climate change is being echoed around the nation as 284 universities join together to go green, Newsweek reports. Harvard, and Arizona State University are among the many who have pledged to curb energy consumption and waste. Spreading
the conservation message even before students arrive, such as Harvard University, which sent out mass messages to students ways to furnish their dorm.

This is a concept that Dominic Petruzzelli, director of Residence Life, be added to St. John’s next September for incoming and returning students. The new project will be yet another addition to the various green projects Residence Life is already running within the Residence Village.

Last spring, they launched a recycling program for resident students that later expanded to encompass the entire university. They also created an Environmental Concerns and Living Learning Community in DaSilva Hall, where an entire floor is dedicated to environmental concerns and projects. The earth-friendly programs on campus exemplify the commitment students and the University are making to take a stand for global climate change and face what Mayor Bloomberg called “the greatest challenge.