It was about five years ago that a number of SUNY Cobleskill’s faculty members had a big idea: namely, that the College needed to make a concerted, officially sanctioned effort to ensure the campus was practicing environmental sustainability. Soon, a Sustainability Advisory Board composed of faculty, staff and students was established, and the work began.
“It was one of those subjects that a lot of individuals had each thought about pursuing in their own lives and actions,” explains Anne Rogan, Professor of Agricultural and Food Management, “but it wasn’t until an actual team was assembled that things really started happening. And what we do today is still a team effort in all respects.”
Every academic department sent a representative to the group’s first meeting, and an initial project was chosen. “We determined to launch an effort to clean up all the trash on campus. It wasn’t a complicated or large-scale project, but it was a high-visibility one,” Anne says. From there, the group’s efforts began to snowball.
Each year since its inception, the sustainability team has hosted a Speakers’ Series on the Environment. Three guests are invited to each of these annual events, and the topics covered over the years have ranged from tree diseases, to bee population concerns to manure management.
Meanwhile, the campus-centered work continues. For example, an ambitious composting effort is currently underway to handle the pre- and post-consumer waste generated by SUNY Cobleskill’s dining hall. Looking ahead, Anne says, “I’m convinced that as we begin to expand the scope of our activities, more and more people will see sustainability as a relatively simple but indispensable part of their daily lives.”
Feature photo of College goats “mowing” the grass near the solar panels taken by Mohamed Baligh ’12,
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