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This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Being green at Bentley is a little like gardening. Many hands and the right tools make for lighter work and better results.
Tracking those results is a student-developed Green Certification program, which launched in fall 2012 and helps student groups and campus departments understand the environmental impact of their operations. Residence Hall Association Eco-Reps act as sustainability consultants to measure current behavior and recommend changes that will increase resource efficiency and reduce costs. The program’s auditing tools consider factors such as recycling, double-sided printing and turning off the lights to rank participants at one of three levels — Seed, Sapling or Tree — modeled on the LEED rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Bentley has made sustainability an institutional priority through participation in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and subsequent climate action plan.
“Engaging our community is essential to the success of sustainability initiatives,” says President Gloria Cordes Larson. “Our collective action helps reduce water and electricity use, and generates less waste — all of which shrink Bentley’s carbon footprint and bring us closer to our goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.”
Bentley has already cultivated a culture worth noting. The university is on the list of top environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, as compiled by Princeton Review. Another accolade, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was a first-place finish in the 2012-2013 College and University Green Power Challenge, for using more green power than any other school in the Northeast-10 Conference.
According to the EPA, green power use of 25 million kWh at Bentley is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of nearly 3,000 American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of almost 4,000 vehicles per year.
“Programs like Green Certification help the Office of Sustainability raise awareness and encourage Bentley community members to be more mindful of the environmental, social and financial implications of their actions,” says Natalie Berland, manager of sustainability. “If this type of responsibility can translate into everyday habits, the impact will be much wider than the campus community.”
The Green Certification program awards prizes for reaching Sapling or Tree status.
- Association of Bentley Activities
- Bentley International Relations Organization
- Colleges Against Cancer
- Administrative Computing
- Career Services
- Client Services
- Dean of Business
- Purchasing, Administrative and Campus Services
- Bentley Green Society
- Catholic Campus Connection
- Circle K
- Class Cabinet (2014)
- Class Cabinet (2015)
- Delta Sigma Pi
- Speech and Debate Society
- Student Government Association
- Academic Technology Center
President Larson, along with guest experts, joined Bloomberg’s Carol Massar and Cory Johnson, to talk about how college and universities are preparing graduates to navigate diverse environments.