UH not quite as green as it thinks
No matter what UH faculty, students and staff would like to think, the University is not environmentally friendly. Instead, it is downright hostile.
This attitude is due to a combination of a campus population unwilling to take the initiative and an administration that, while willing to take publicity-friendly baby steps toward being green, has yet to make the more logical but less brag-worthy leaps in the right direction.
Every day, thousands of students drive themselves to campus, each expelling a horrifying amount of toxic fumes into the air. Many simple, cheaper and less damaging options exist, but the percentage of students who take advantage of them is disturbingly small.
Considering how easy it is to ride Metro, carpool with other students who live nearby, or simply ride a bike to school, it’s embarrassing how many people never even consider those options.
Many students and staff make excuses for why they drive: they don’t have enough time, they don’t know how to take the bus, or perhaps they don’t have anyone to carpool with.
The vast majority of these arguments do nothing but show students’ laziness.
Students interested in carpooling can find a list of vanpools (like carpools, but in vans) at uh.edu/pts/greenuhvanpool.htm.
For those considering taking the bus, Metro offers a convenient trip planner on its Web site to help people who are unfamiliar with the system find their way to their destination.
Other major issues on campus, however, are not so clearly in the hands of students.
It is almost painful to think of the number of gallons of water wasted each year on plants and filling the fountains that beautify the campus. Yes, it’s nice to have an aesthetically pleasing school, but seriously, this is Houston. It rains here. We don’t need to drench our grass on a daily basis.
UH is also responsible for a great amount of energy waste. Lights shine on empty classrooms, computers that no one uses for hours stay on, and the dorms are kept at least five to 10 degrees colder than is comfortable.
A joint effort between faculty, students and staff could easily fix these problems, but no one has done anything so far.
The University’s recycling program is one of few things the school has gotten right in its green initiatives. Paper recycling bins are next to the printers in the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, and receptacles for cans and bottles are near most of the trash cans around campus.
But students still leave their trash on the ground, and there are many places around campus where recycling would be taken advantage of if only it were available.
Everyone on campus shares a responsibility to make the community as environmentally friendly as possible. Just because we have not done a good job of doing so in the past does not mean that the trend cannot be changed. All it takes is a little effort.
Casey Goodwin is an engineering freshman and may be reached at [email protected]