New campus program furthering green goals

A new kind of wooded area popped up next to the Coffee Cottage on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Ten-foot-tall stakes dressed in pink ribbons fashioned a path from Woodruff to Jeffords following the gravel walkway.

The path was approximately 10-feet-wide, 10-feet-tall, and over 200 yards long. It was made to represent the 100 tons of items Castleton has recycled since 2005. That’s 2039 cubic yards by volume!

The Sustainability Club on campus has put “tons” of effort into making a successful recycling program at Castleton a reality. Stacia Bucknell, president of the club, truly believes in the benefits of recycling.

“It’s important for the reduction of waste and it saves energy,” said Bucknell. She explains that less energy is used in recycling than in making new products from scratch.

The 367,350 kilowatt hours saved by recycling (equivalent to 100 tons), could power Castleton’s entire campus for 27 days straight, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The 906 barrels of oil saved by recycling (which equates to more than 20,000 gallons of gasoline), could provide more than 38 commuters with enough gas for one year.

Castleton recycles aluminum, glass, plastic, newspaper, mixed paper (including magazines), and cardboard. Other items which can be recycled include batteries, light bulbs, and computers, though they must be taken care of separately.

In the past three years, Castleton has updated its green apparel. First Year Seminar students now actively participate on “Green Monday” in recycling efforts.

There are 25 locations around campus which provide receptacles for glass, plastic, and cans. The Student Initiative even incorporates plans for the LEED certification of the renovated and newly constructed buildings.

“We’re going for silver,” Bucknell explains. “This is a 27 million dollar project, and we’re going for silver? Lets go for gold!” she encourages.

LEED Certification is based upon a point system (26-69 to be considered certified) and points are given for sustainability in renovations and in the construction of new buildings. Scoring breaks down as follows: 33-38 points equal silver, 39-51 points equal gold, and 52-69 is platinum.

“I mean, there’s so much we can do.a LOT we can do. But at a small college we don’t have as much input and we don’t have money, which is a huge impact. It’s hard not having any money,” says Bucknell. “Even though the return on investment would be better in the future, we just don’t have the money up front right now.”

She’s asked what she would do to make Castleton more sustainable, if money wasn’t a hindrance.

“Even if all these buildings were all temperature controlled, I think it would greatly impact the amount of oil we use,” she said. “But if it was up to me, I’d strap solar panels on every roof on this campus. Get a little wind farm, a HUGE garden; HUGE. We can grow pretty much anything. It is Vermont.”

The 100 tons of recyclables Castleton has collected in the last three years is a representation of its commitment to being green. Castleton is home to just under two-thousand students; a tight-knit community right in the heart of Vermont. With motivated clubs and individuals pursuing Castleton’s potential, green is in sight.

Change in this case however, cannot be done alone.

“This is a whole community project,” said Bucknell. “We need the whole community’s support in order to get it going!

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