Written by Cheng Lee ’10
Gustavus is no stranger to green efforts. In fact, Gustavus actively promotes ways for students and staff to make more environmentally friendly decisions.
The campus commits itself to energy saving and waste reduction. One great way to get into the “green” spirit is through intercollegiate competitions, such as the Recyclemania Tournament and Minnesota Campus Energy Challenge.
Recyclemania is a national waste-reduction college competition, held Jan. 17-March 27, 2010. With more than 600 participating colleges and universities, students minimize the trash they toss out and recycle as much as they can. In 2009, Gustavus ranked in the top one-third of all colleges in the nation and was first in most categories for Minnesota schools. It was Gustavus’s first Recyclemania effort.
The Minnesota Campus Energy Challenge, a statewide competition to conserve energy, also runs during the month of February. In order to “win,” a school must improve upon its previous conservation amount. For example, in 2010 Gustavus is attempting to reduce its February electricity usage by more than 15 percent (the College’s 2009 reduction amount). Overall winners are determined based on the highest percent reduction over a three-year period.
In addition to participating in these competitions to “reduce, reuse, recycle,” guest speakers like author and environmentalist Paul Hawken lecture on campus. On Feb. 18, Hawken lectured to a full house in Alumni Hall. The author of Blessed Unrest (2007) spoke about how businesses can make more environmentally friendly decisions. Hawken has written seven books, four of which are national bestsellers: The Next Economy (1983), Growing a Business (1987), and The Ecology of Commerce (1993).