Recent attempts to better campus sustainability weren’t enough to gain Bradley a high grade from The College Sustainability Report Card.
The organization surveyed Bradley about its facilities, food service and endowment to determine its grade an overall ‘D.’
Vice President for Business Affairs Gary Anna said he thinks the grade represents Bradley fairly well. However, he also said little differences in the way questions were answered may have been huge determinants, and administrators didn’t try to sugarcoat any areas.
“In some cases, we’re behind other universities, and in other cases I think we may be ahead,” he said. “We need to establish a culture of sustainability before we talk about putting solar panels on top of buildings.”
Since the survey was conducted in July, Student Senate implemented a pilot recycling program in University Hall. If that sees success, it will be expanded to all campus dorms.
Anna said he thinks the fact that, unlike many other schools, Bradley does not have a sustainability coordinator may have been a reason for Bradley’s ‘F’ grade on the administration section of the report.
“We don’t have a sustainability coordinator, and I’m not sure that is first among our highest needs today,” he said. “We’re still dealing with issues of the economic crisis, and I think there’s more we can do with this particular focus … and the capacity our students offer us.”
Tricia Anklan, a member of the task force that designed the U-Hall pilot program, said she doesn’t think the administration’s grade is just.
“I think giving Bradley’s administration an ‘F’ is unfair,” she said. “In my experience, the administration has been willing to participate and invest in sustainability programs contingent on student participation.”
Anklan said she thinks students need to become more involved.
“Bradley students need to be vocal about what they want, actively participate in sustainability efforts and hold the university accountable for enforcing policies,” she said. “The students really have to be the ones to take the first step.”
The one area of nine in which the university received a grade above a ‘C’ was in investment priorities. It received an ‘A’ for investing endowment in on-campus sustainability projects.
The only area it received a ‘C’ in was food and recycling. In this section, the university was applauded for eliminating food trays, offering vegan and sustainable food options as well as donating old clothing and furniture.
Bradley received ‘Ds’ for climate change and energy, student involvement and transportation. It received ‘Fs’ for shareholder engagement, endowment transparency and green building.
The university doesn’t have any LEED-certified buildings, the stamp which says a building is environmentally responsible, but Anna said when Westlake Hall is complete is should be gold-certified LEED.
“With the Markin [Family Student Recreation] Center and the athletic arena, those are very large buildings, and generally LEED certification will drive your cost up 10 to 15 percent,” he said. “If you think those buildings cost $80 million, we would not be able to afford to do them if they cost $10 to $15 million more.
Anna said the university kept the environment in mind when designing those buildings, and just because they are not LEED-certified does not mean they aren’t at all eco-friendly.
Anna also said sustainability is an increasing priority on campus, but it is important to “walk before we run,” by starting with things like recycling.
Students with concerns about sustainability can e-mail email@example.com or visit www.greenreportcard.org to see Bradley’s full report card.