Bradley doesn’t have the purest of sustainability records. According to greenreportcard.org, a C- overall. Granted, that’s up from the D we received in 2010.
However, the university continues to make strides to improve it’s environmental reputation. The report card is a guideline, and while we are excelling in some areas, there are other areas where we have fallen flat simply because it’s not applicable to our campus.
Some of our lowest grades fall under the categories of “green building” and “transportation.” According to Gary Anna, Vice President of Business Affairs, the university is ensuring that the buildings we construct in the future be at high levels on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating scale, which is a worthwhile investment.
It is a necessary push to make the future of our campus both more efficient and more conscientious, a standard our older buildings are not up to par with.
Transportation is another issue entirely, one it seems the university has tried to tackle by recently adding electric car charging stations to parking decks.
Bradley’s rating of transportation in the green report card states, “The university has not made public any programs or practices that encourage or facilitate the use of alternative forms of transportation.”
While that may be true, it’s also not the most pressing sustainability priority on campus. The problem is not that the university wants there to be availability for charging electric cars, but rather that the university may be catering more to an online report card than it is to its students.
There are three charging stations available; two are in the Duryea Avenue parking deck, and one is in the Main Street parking deck. That means in order to even use the stations, there is still a $50 fee to be able to use the parking decks. On top of that, electric cars aren’t yet in the foreseeable college student’s budget.
With such a lengthy list of priorities to attend to, using the budget for something that has no substantial use compared to something that would be used on a daily basis seems wasteful, no matter how small the investment may be.
Over the past year-and-a-half the university has slowly introduced recycling bins to residence halls and buildings on campus. There are several buildings that still do not have bins, however three electric car charging stations have been installed on campus practically overnight.
The advances Bradley has been making are tremendous and vital, but only if done for the right reasons. Looking good to a potential student researching schools is important, but even more so is keeping a finger on the pulse of the student body already enrolled.
To be sure, sustainability is not something to be ignored. Our most recent construction projects, such as Westlake Hall and the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, have been built with the environment in mind, aiming to save energy and materials.
Our cafeterias have become more mindful about food conservation and eliminating styrofoam. Recycling in residence halls and academic buildings has become far more accessible than it was a few years ago. These are all necessary advancements and changes that we have been glad to see implemented.
We’re well on our way to being a truly eco-friendly campus, but until there is a real need for charging stations, we should at least get a recycling bin into every academic building.