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December 14, 1819

 

Maryville College signs Climate Pledge

MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE- Maryville College has joined colleges and universities across the nation in pledging a high standard of environmental stewardship as part of the White House’s American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge.

It is the only institution in Tennessee to make this pledge, which commits the College to “build on existing efforts regarding environmental sustainability, including campus-wide recycling, renewable energy generation, public outreach and partnerships.”

Adrienne Schwarte, coordinator of the College’s Sustainability Studies Minor, said students’ energy drives campus sustainability efforts.

“We have more and more students who are coming up to us and telling us that they are interested in these particular initiatives. Sustainability has always been a student-driven initiative,” she said.
Pledge drafted by student

The pledge, which was drafted by environmental studies major Emily Guillaume '16, assigns outcomes to the College’s efforts including “lowering campus waste, reducing fossil fuel consumption, furthering the connection to environmental and human health, and increasing the use of locally-sourced food.”

“I looked at our sustainability initiatives, which are quite a lot. I knew there were things we wanted to do and things we could do better. A lot of it had to do with taking things we’re already doing and upping the ante,” she said.

With the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris, Maryville College students are lending their voices to the formation of global environmental policy. They join college students from more than 150 institutions across the country in support of a climate agreement in Paris that sets the world on the path toward a low-carbon, sustainable future, said Dr. Mark O’Gorman, professor of political science.

On Thursday, students studying public policy with O’Gorman discussed the topic in class.

One of the College’s pledge goals is to increase waste diversion rates from 25 percent to at least 35 percent by 2019 through campus-wide single-stream recycling, waste reduction initiatives and campus-community programs, O’Gorman told his class.

“From a public policy perspective this is a campus committing to a goal because of you, the students. If you have ever thrown something away in the recycling bins around campus, then you are part of that 25 percent of waste diversion we already have. You can also be part of the 10 percent we’re planning to gain,” he said to his students.

As part of the pledge, Maryville College has committed to establishing a local food consortium that increases the variety of local and/or organic food being served in campus dining facilities.

Ben Davis ’17, an environmental studies major, told the class about a composting effort by Mountain Challenge, the College’s student-run B Corporation involved in sustainability and outdoor activity.

 

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