As MPIRG moves away from campaigns that force us to say “no,” we also move back to campus-based issues. Each campus MPIRG chapter works on these smaller-scale issue campaigns in addition to the statewide campaigns we work toward.
Typically, at Hamline University’s MPIRG, we have dealt with issues of Social Justice and Democracy. This semester we are hoping to revitalize our campus into affecting positive change on the way we treat the environment around us.
This year, Hamline University opened a building called the Anderson Center. It is meant to be a place for students to go when the need to study, eat, or socialize. And, it was designed to be as energy efficient and waste-free as possible. We’ve seen how green the Anderson Center can be for a whole semester, and Hamline MPIRG thinks we can do better.
The Anderson Center is already trying to be greener. For example, they have installed solar panels on one side of the building to offset energy usage. They are also beginning a paper waste reduction program. The Anderson Center is also continuing some of the programs that Hamline has already implemented. They recycle most of their food waste by sending it to a local pig farm, and use waste compacting machinery to reduce the volume of waste collected and the frequency of waste pick-up. All of these are a great start towards a greener campus.
We’re starting a number of initiatives to make the Anderson Center a green flagship for how the rest of the school should be. First, we are picking up where we left off with our bottle water initiative. We are continuing the process of getting bottled water off campus. We are also moving to reduce paper waste further by asking our “Piper Grill” to add a “for here or to go” option for the meals it produces. We are also working to inform the students of the projects already in place, such as recycling rules and a discount for bringing your own mug to Starbuck’s. We’re kicking off this new Greener Anderson campaign with a movie night where we plan to show No Impact Man, a story about a family that strove to not impact the environment.
For those other MPIRG campuses that have new University or Student centers, check into how green they are! What can your MPIRG chapter do to make sure that the environment is the top priority for new buildings? Every campus is constantly expanding, and it’s important for MPIRG to encourage green options when they do.
How green is your campus?
By Dianna Fielding, Hamline MPIRG Co-Chair