Even as a student who cares very deeply about the environment, grew up recycling, and supports all efforts to go green, I can say that it honestly never crossed my mind that a campus that cares about the environment could be one of my qualifications for choosing a college. It just so happened that Christopher Newport snatched up my heart – even without the knowledge that I now have about all their efforts to go green and support sustainability!
The first time I realized CNU was environmentally friendly was the first time I took out my trash during Welcome Week. Instead of there just being a single dumpster, I saw the familiar dark blue recycling bin. As I became more accustomed to the campus and its buildings, I realized that there were actually recycling options almost just as frequently as generic trash cans.
This thought was next encouraged when I realized that a Thursday afternoon Farmers Market was hosted weekly. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t just a couple of tables – there were small local businesses represented who handcrafted their goods, and a large variety of them! One stand sold fresh fruit and vegetables while another sold jams and sauces, and others sold homemade jewelry or soaps or baked goods.
It wasn’t until I became a part of the Student Life Committee of Student Assembly that I realized just how invested my university really was in being environmentally conscious. In my first meeting, I discovered that Student Assembly has been working closely with CNU’s Sustainability Coordinator Ryan Kmetz (also head of CNU Green) to push a sustainability agenda that has recently made huge amounts of progress. Some results of their proposals are recycling bins that can be checked out and utilized for on-campus events, garden plots that students could reserve near the beginning of the semester, water efficient sinks, favorable parking spots for energy-efficient vehicles to encourage their use, three bicycle repair stations, and signs on all the drainage pits that spread awareness of the fact that what is poured down them exits straight into the bay.
But they don’t plan on stopping yet – already, new ideas are being born as to what can be improved. The next step will hopefully be introducing energy-efficient lighting to the academic buildings, adding more garden plots, and even possibly constructing a green house! Thanks to a yearly sustainability survey and the help of Student Assembly, CNU Green’s efforts are more closely along the lines of what the student body is hoping to see.
Being a part of such a forward-thinking campus makes me all the more proud to be a student here. I’m incredibly excited to see what has been accomplished by the time I graduate in four years, and I’m happy that I’m going to be able to play a part in it.