The arrival of spring isn’t the only thing that might make Bradley greener.
The Student Environmental Action Coalition has presented university administration with a proposition that would make Bradley a carbon neutral campus.
If Bradley were to become a carbon neutral campus, it would have no carbon emissions.
Even though the administration isn’t meeting with the group until the beginning of May, President of the group Alyson Jordan said the proposal is an important one.
“A carbon neutral commitment will aid in our global climate crisis and also set an example for the Peoria area,” she said.
The local chapter of the Sierra Club, a nationwide environmental group, is also working with this movement.
David Pittman, a member of the Sierra Club, said Bradley would solidify its place as a local and regional leader by “walking the walk regarding campus energy use.
Local businesses, schools and governments will be much more willing to commit their own staff and resources to being carbon neutral if they see the technical processes worked out on Bradley’s campus, he said.
Colleges are especially important in this movement, Pittman said.
“[Universities] are designed to be future-focused and visionary,” he said. “College graduates are the folks who will implement and solve the challenges of climate change. As students and faculty work together for a carbon neutral campus, they will inspire the community to follow their lead.”
More than 600 colleges and universities across the country have made a pledge to become carbon neutral as part of the American College and University President Climate Commitment.
The closest college to Bradley that has signed the commitment is Illinois State University.
Even though Jordan said she thinks carbon neutrality is important, she did acknowledge that it wouldn’t be easy.
“Certainly there are many steps that must be taken, so we recognize that an overnight change is not possible,” she said.
The commitment has a few guidelines university presidents promise to follow when they sign the commitment.
The first is to set up a mechanism, such as a task force or committee, to guide the process. That must be done within two months of signing the pledge.
The second guideline is to complete an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.
Next, the university would have to create and implement a climate neutral plan within two years.
Presidents signing the pledge also commit to offer sustainability courses to their university.
The final guideline is to create an action plan and make periodic progress reports that would be available to the public.
The commitment would not only include making Bradley a carbon neutral campus, but would require new classes that would teach sustainability.
Assistant Vice President for Communications Shelley Epstein said although administration hasn’t met with the student group to discuss the proposal yet, administrators plan to hear the group out before making a decision either way.
Regardless, the new construction and renovations around campus are being built to be energy efficient, especially the new alumni center and the addition to Westlake Hall, Vice President for Business Affairs Gary Anna said.