Green Education

by Melody Morrow

If you have the opportunity to attend college, or university, as some call it, you usually research schools you would like to attend with many reasons in mind, but do you think, hey…where can I get an eco-friendly education? While some institutions may be immersed in healthy lifestyles and green living, most others are not and you will have to find the opportunities to learn and grow your own green lifestyle. Some students enter knowing more than others; some learn as they grow and some learn years after graduating that they were greener than they thought or not green at all.

When I was applying to schools I was uneducated as to the notion of healthy, green and sustainability. It wasn’t until I enrolled for each new semester I began to understand that there were options and choices I could make. The options didn’t come in a nice neat green package, but being around a food co-op and attending a school nestled in the Adirondacks did help open my eyes.

Most importantly, I had an invaluable eco-friendly experience during an internship my senior year at SUNY Plattsburgh. Part of the time was spent under the wing of a true modern day pioneer woman. She was a vegetarian, grew her own food, built her own solar home in the mountains, showed me how to make homemade root beer and handcrafted unique stationery. She made some of her own clothes too!

I thought it would be a good idea to find out a current green initiative or two at my college so I asked someone in the know. Dr. John Ettling, President of SUNY Plattsburgh, who was proud to mention to me the college has provided an environmental science degree long before it was in fashion and now a BS in ecology. Joanne Nelson, the Director of Alumni Relations at Plattsburgh suggested I speak to Kim Belizaire, a senator from the Student Association to find out what their Campus Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CCER) has been doing regarding plastic water bottles which seems to be on many people’s minds these days.

In this position, Kim has to work very closely with CCER because her responsibility is to environmental awareness, to advertise the green grants the committee provides and bring new ideas/projects to the table. A member of SIFE (Student Free Enterprise) Entrepreneurship Club presented the Water Vending Machine. The funding for the machine was provided by a Green Grant through the (CCER). It can refill any container with fresh clean water.

The water within the vending machine is run through sediment and carbon filters, which removes solids larger than 5 microns and organic compounds. Through the process of reverse osmosis, any bacteria, dissolved solids and heavy metals are removed and sterilized via UV light before water is freshly dispensed. It’s the cheapest and cleanest water on campus. Prices are 25 cents for 16oz, 50 cents for 24 oz and 75 cents per gallon. How’s that for saving some green and the planet. Cheers!

Do you know how green your college is, your child’s school, your parents alma mater? Contact them to find out. Could be interesting to get educated.

Here is a list of Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll which includes 16 US colleges that received a Green Rating of 99 (the highest score) They also listed several hundred that received a good rating.

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