Green Initiatives at Colby
Students promote sustainability, conservation, and environmental awareness as members of the Environmental Advisory Group (which advises the president), as recycling coordinators, and in other paid part-time positions in the ES program. Colby supports an active Environmental Coalition, the Environmental Studies Club, and the new Organic Gardening Club. New students are involved in sustainability discussions during orientation. Students engage initiatives through coursework, independent study, academic honors projects, and committees. Students have been instrumental in initiating many policy changes promoting sustainability and conservation over the years, and environmental studies majors often design independent study and honors projects to support the College’s identified sustainability goals
Environmental Advisory Group
Students, faculty, and staff serve on Colby’s Environmental Advisory Group (EAG), formed in 2000 to advise the president and the College on environmental stewardship, sustainability, conservation, and alternative energy. The EAG has proposed, evaluated, recommended, and helped implement an array of ambitious green initiatives. The structure has served as a model for other institutions.
RESCUE (Recycle Everything, Save Colby’s Usable Excess) started in 2001-02 to capture clothing, household items, furniture, appliances, and other items that departing students leave behind. Now clothing and furniture are donated to local nonprofits and other items are cleaned and stored for sale the following fall, taking literally tons of material out of the waste stream for reuse. In 2003 RESCUE was named a “best management practice” by the EPA. See a 2009 RESCUE video.
Colby introduced electric and hybrid vehicles and is committed to downsizing vehicles in the College-owned fleet. A campus shuttle provides access to local shopping areas and public transportation, and an online ride-sharing board facilitates carpooling. Students and employees can join Zipcar, a low-cost car-sharing program. The iBike program offers free use of College-owned bicycles. LEED-certified buildings have showers for bike commuters.
Colby’s location, on 714 acres in central Maine, is an ideal living laboratory for studying the environment and practicing sustainability. The College has a 128-acre arboretum and wildlife sanctuary on campus and additional properties on the nearby Belgrade Lakes, including a kettle bog for research. A partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences offers new opportunities in ocean and marine conservation studies. Civic engagement and service learning programs ensure opportunities for students to engage environmental initiatives throughout Maine.
Commencement 2008 was Colby's first Green Graduation. Alaina Clark '08 developed the idea as part of a senior honors project, and staff, students, and faculty worked to implement new sustainability initiatives. The Green Team, Colby students and employees, staffed information tables and assisted visitors with composting and other greening efforts at commencement events.
Colby faculty and students collaborate with Sustain Mid-Maine
, a coalition to raise awareness about climate change and sustainability. Students have contributed to greenhouse gas inventories, energy audits, a community climate action plan, community gardens, GIS analyses, and an organic dairy feasibility study. One student co-wrote a $170,000 grant to support community energy conservation. Through internships, courses, and independent study projects, students work with climate change experts, government officials, concerned citizens, and other decision makers.
iBike Loaner Bicycles
Beginning in 2008 students initiated the iBike program
to offer free bike loans to students and staff. The motivation was to provide sustainable
transportation and equitable access to downtown Waterville as well as an opportunity for healthy exercise. Bikes come with a helmet and lock and may be checked out at the information desk in Pulver Pavilion for up to 24 hours at a time.
Students at Colby serve as recycling coordinators and in other paid part-time positions that promote sustainability. Students are involved in coursework, independent study, and research, and new students discuss sustainability during orientation. Students and college-supported student-run organizations have been instrumental in initiating many policy changes promoting sustainability and conservation over the years.
Environmental studies majors collaborate on research with faculty members, working in locations ranging from the on-campus arboretum to South America and Africa. Others students have used their skills to develop geographic information system (GIS) maps and models to support faculty research
Last Updated: 3/29/13 4:54 PM