PC3 cleans up the College / iCarpool drives to reduce emissions

By John Irvine

Correspondent

The Demonstration Garden is just one effort to make the College greener.(climate.pages.tcnj.edu)

The day after tomorrow may hold a truth that is inconvenient, but the College isn’t standing by idly.  In order to fight the climate-changing greenhouse gasses that are emitted from the College, President R. Barbara Gitenstein, in 2007, signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment, a pact that binds 665 institutions to strive for environmental responsibility.

The President’s Climate Commitment Committee, or PC3, was formed shortly after the signing and was tasked with helping the College to meet the various requirements.  To fulfill this mission PC3 has attempted to introduce numerous initiatives to raise awareness about environmental perils and to change student and faculty behavior.

Past initiatives include requiring all new appliances purchased by the College to be Energy Star appliances, buying carbon off-sets and sponsoring programs to raise awareness and education.

“TCNJ has reduced its carbon footprint, as measured by the Green House Gas (GHG) inventory, from 39,927 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2008 to 14,743 metric tons of (CO2) in 2011,” said Matthew Golden, associate vice president for Communications, Marketing and Brand Management.

Progress has been made, but the president’s Climate Commitment Committee (PC3) is still rather new. Despite its novelty, The Princeton Review cited the College as one of the 322 most environmentally responsible “green” colleges in the nation in 2012.

Another way the College works to reduce carbon emissions and to further this headway is to endorse the College’s iCarpool initiative. The concept is simple: fewer cars on the road equals less CO2 in the air.  iCarpool encourages students, faculty and staff with similar commutes to ride together.  For those who participate, there are special parking spaces around campus reserved for carpoolers. In addition to the incentives of reducing carbon emissions and getting a priority parking spot, there are also gift cards awarded to those who participate in the iCarpool program.

The Demonstration Garden between lakes Ceva and Silva is also set to be moved to a more visible location. The Bonner Center plans “to relocate it along Metzger Drive, east of the College’s Green Lane entrance,” Golden said. The new location will also feature an outdoor classroom and a quiet reflection area.  According to the PC3 website, produce will be donated to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

In order to boost awareness through competition, PC3 plans to introduce a new tradition to the College by putting the students of Travers and Wolfe in an energy usage competion. The dorm that uses the least energy from November through March will win the challenge.

PC3 also plans to promote awareness of carbon emssions through a three-part film series including the movies “Dirt!,” “PlanEat” and “Crude Impact.” The movies have the common theme of promoting ecological awareness and they will take place on Feb. 25, March 25 and Oct. 22.

“We have a lot of ideas that have the potential to really cut-down on emissions,”  said Patrick Dyer, a sophomore biology major and student representative of PC3. “We just need more student involvement to make the initiatives work.”

PC3 members garden on campus. (climate.pages.tcnj.edu)