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Union College is committed to practices that decrease the impact that the campus community has on the environment on a global and local scale. Such efforts to operate in a sustainable way – that is, so that we do not deplete resources to the extent that future generations will be harmed – requires everyone’s participation, including faculty, staff, and students.

President Stephen Ainlay has signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which among other things sets Union College on the path toward documenting our current carbon emissions, followed by subsequent targets to reduce our emissions toward the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality. As a first step, the Student Forum and the College Administration has committed the funds to purchase 15% of Union College’s electricity use from pollution-free wind sources.

Part of the effort has been the GREEN GRANTS program, which recently announced the winning grant recipients for 2009.

There are many other exciting initiatives on campus that bring us closer to the goal of a sustainable campus, including expanded recycling efforts to reduce the waste taken to landfills, increased local and organic dining options including Ozone Café on Fridays and the new organic kiosk in Reamer Center, recycling frier grease into biodiesel, and the eco-friendly apartments at 712 Roger Hull Place.

These programs are only the first steps toward making Union operate as sustainably as possible. For those interested in taking part in the next generation of efforts to reduce the College’s impact on the environment, we suggest contacting student groups such as U Sustain, Environmental Club, or Ozone House.

Finally, we remind everyone on campus that the choices we all make as individuals has a tremendous impact on the environment. So, conserve energy – turn off lights and computers when not in use; conserve gas – drive as little as possible by walking, biking, using public transportation or carpooling; eat local – buy local food on campus or at farmers markets to support local farmers and to reduce the distance that your food travels; reduce waste – think about the packaging when making purchases and recycle whenever possible.

Find out more about sustainability at UNION


PV panels on the Campus security building on Hull Place. This project was funded in part by the New York State Energy Regional Development Authority (NYSERDA). (Photo: JI Garver)

This document can be located from: http://minerva.union.edu/env/ES_home.html

© Geology Department, Union College, Schenectady N.Y. 12308-3107.All rights reserved. No part of the document can be copied and/or redistributed, electronically or otherwise, without written permission from J.I.Garver, Geology Department, Union College, Schenectady NY, 12308-2311, USA