Greening BC: Celebrating Earth Day Every Day

— by Ethan Jacobs, ’13

Over the past few decades, Boston College has been able to pride itself on its rapid growth and development as an institution of higher education.  This growth is encompassed in a variety of measured elements of campus life, which include an ever-rising undergraduate and graduate student body population, an increasing relationship with a number of communities in the greater Boston area, and a greater presence on the national and global stage with respect to the awe-inspiring work being done by BC graduates around the world.  In embracing this rapid growth, BC must also take on the responsibility of catering to an growing number of individuals, a task, which often entails the construction and utilization of new buildings and facilities, as well as an array of other resources.  In this vein, and in honor of Earth Day, the Boston College Career Center has decided to take a quick look at some of the measures being taken by various campus organizations to embrace the growth being experienced at BC in a manner that is sustainable, responsible, and ethical.

BC Bookstore

The Boston College Bookstore is undertaking a number of exciting initiatives in the coming year as a means of becoming more sustainable and ethically governed.

  • Next year’s superfan shirts will be made from 100% recycled bottles, but take on a much more loose and breathable texture, making for a more comfortable shirt.
  • Boston College has also become a part of the Better World Books Program, which collects and sells books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide.
  • Finally, the bookstore has set a goal to go digital with all text books and course packs within the next few years as a means of cutting down on paper waste and tree felling.bookstore

BC Reslife

            The Office of Residential Life at Boston College has made use of a mixed bag of initiatives to achieve various sustainability goals throughout various residential halls.

  • The Department recycles furniture into halls that are in need of newer pieces, and donates furniture that is no longer needed to Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts (HGRM), an organization that provides household goods to people in need, free of charge.
  •  “BC Clean,” an end of year donation drive encourages residents to donate unwanted items to local charities at the end of the year rather than throwing them in the trash, and all first year hall councils elect an eco-rep that is charged with promoting student awareness and advocacy programs for green actions among students.
  • All laundry machines in dorm facilities and refrigerators on lower campus are energy star certified, meaning that they use substantially less water and energy than most industry leaders in washing and refrigerating, respectively.res life

BC Dining Services

With opportunities to engage in sustainable and ethical practices at nearly every turn, Boston College’s Dining Services program has adopted a number of different approaches to serve as a more responsible organization on campus.

  • To decrease volume and the number of required vendor pick-ups, metal cans are crushed in-house.  Further, only zero trans-fat cooking oils are utilized as a means of provided the healthiest alternative to students possible, and all of these oils are filtered at least once a day to allow for longer usage.
  • In replacing dishwashers twice over the past year, dining services has cut down on water usage by 50%.  To further these conservation efforts, dishwashers are only run during peak dining hours, which enables the conservation of utilities and cleaning products.
  • All vendor food orders are consolidated to limit the carbon footprint of suppliers, and all BC Food Vendors are required to comply with a list of BC-created sustainability criteria.
  • Finally, all leftover food, including food waste from campus diners is composted in the back of dining services facilities.dining

Strides are certainly being made within the BC community to govern all campus-activity in an environmentally responsible and socially ethical manner.  The above-listed bullet points from the Office of Residential Life, BC Dining Services, and the BC Bookstore represent merely a few of the initiatives being undertaken to make BC a progressively greener campus.  It will be critical in the coming years that this progress is maintained and that all parties involved continue to take into consideration the long-term benefits that these environmentally conscious actions can yield, rather than looking to quick-fix short-term solutions, which may prove costly in the long run.  However, if BC’s current engagement is any indicator, the future looks bright for this campus’ sustainability endeavors.

–Ethan Jacobs is a senior at Boston College majoring in Philosophy and Economics.



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