By Staff Writer Tighe Ratcliffe.
As some of you might have noticed, the school’s meal packages have changed. Yes, it looks nice to see all of the salads have everything in individual plastic wrapping, but there’s a problem.
UMass Dartmouth on multiple occasions has said that it is a very sustainably driven school, and that its goal is to be an example of a school that others can follow when it comes to sustainability efforts.
How can our campus say that if it has just increased the amount of plastics that are thrown out on a daily basis, when it should be reducing?
One of our landmarks on campus is the big windmill we have, which was supposed to reduce our carbon footprint, but often times it doesn’t even generate electricity or it’s not working.
Then there was the project a couple of semesters ago to fix the pipes that provide heat to the buildings.
These pipes had been leaking the steam used to heat the buildings for a long time.
It was an expensive fix, but the buildings are still usually really cold.
Additionally, the (former) freshman building, Roberts Hall, is still being kept up and running with all of its utilities to keep a few confidential dorms running for certain staffers. It’s a tremendous waste.
So many of the projects that the school says it does to help reduce its impacts barely reduce the net impact of working on them.
So what can be done?
What are some cost effective ways the campus can reduce its impact and be more eco-friendly?
For starters, how about finding a local food supplier that doesn’t use an excessive amount of plastic to contain its meals?
There are plenty of local farmers who grow produce that would be happy to work with a consistent customer like UMass Dartmouth.
This would not only cut out the massive carbon footprint that is caused when food is transported over large distances, but locally produced food has a much smaller environmental impact and it supports the local community.
Another thing that the school could do is fix the faucets in many of the bathrooms on campus that leak.
Water is a precious and limited resource, and there’s a thing called a “water bill” that places pay for the amount of water that they use.
Fixing the leaky faucets might not seem like a huge impact, but the school wastes thousands of gallons of water annually from leaky pipes.
It would not only reduce the school’s impact, but it would also help with the amount of money it’s spending drastically.
There are occasionally reports of a strange bug in the apartments, primarily Hickory, where the pipes make a loud vibrating noise whenever the faucet isn’t running.
I’ve seen several apartments on campus where the students have to keep the water running on low so they can get some peace and quiet. It’s a strange issue, but it’s prevalent.
If you ask me, before UMass Dartmouth can even think about saying that it is a sustainable campus, it needs to take a good hard look at the various little things that make a large impact.
By making a few small, cost effective changes, it could make a larger impact.