Say goodbye to plastic water bottles, going green

Castleton State College’s Green Campus Initiative group is trying to get rid of plastic water bottles on campus.

Senior Megan Harris, the student coordinator of the group, recently announced plans for a “hands free water bottle project.”    

The project would involve handing out reusable water bottles in the beginning of the year to incoming freshman. The idea is that freshman will use the water bottles instead of always having to buy plastic ones. They would install hand free water fountains in all the buildings on campus for students to fill up. The project would cost $10,000, but Harris saidit will be worth the moneyenvironmentally.

“Why waste giving out lanyards to freshman when they can reuse water bottles,” Harris said.

Harris also talked abouthow they are trying to keep the web site more up to date with information and trying to increase the use of wind and solar power on campus. She saidHoff Hall had solar panel installed ad it’s saving money for Castleton.

“The meters change every day with how much power is saved with the solar panels,” she said.  

The Physical Plant is also trying out wind turbines to see if it’s viable but to date there hasn’t been much savings, Harris said.

But not all is perfect with Green Campus Initiative. Paul Derby, chair of organization and its leader since its inception, saidthe program is dwindling out with interested students. Derby was in charge of the service learning project that started Green campus initiative in 2005 with a class of his students.

But even with less interest on campus,Derby says Castleton’s Green Campus Initiative group is still the biggest in the country. Green Campus Initiative is student run and managed and has made numerouschanges over the years, from the small things like changing to florescent light bulbs to making sure that every building started recycling.

In the past, the group also starteda garden by the president’s house, but in the last few years no one has volunteered to help take care of it. The idea arose again recently, Harris said.

The struggle is that students would not be on campus in the summer to take care of the garden, so Castleton would have to get the community involved to do so.

Student Shea Lee said Green Campus Initiative efforts just make sense.

“I initially joined it to help a friend [Megan Harris] out. But, it turned into more of a good cause to join. The earth is our only planet. We need to take care of her in order to keep living on her,” she said.

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