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Sustainable future planned for ULV

Sarah Veissalov
Staff Writer

The Sustainable Campus Consortium is making its mark on the environment, leading the University of La Verne to a more sustainable campus by revamping its goals and organization.

The Consortium will hold a meeting at 2 p.m. today in Mainiero Building, room 152. ULV community members are encouraged to attend.

The consortium first began in 2002 when Robert Neher, professor of biology and chair of the consortium, was asked by the provost and president to create a plan to make the campus more sustainable.

“It was a good diverse group, not a committee,” Neher said. “We needed something more permanent.”

The Sustainable Campus Consortium was originally called Sustainable Campus Committee, though committee and consortium are used interchangeably.

This plan went into effect in 2008, when former ULV President Stephen Morgan signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

This document was an action plan displaying their research and goals for making the campus and environment sustainable.

Neher said that their current university president, Devorah Lieberman is backing up the document Morgan had signed.

The consortium currently has six members, three of whom were elected at the faculty assembly in October.

The three original members are Neher, Professor of Mathematics Michael Frantz and Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Jay Jones.

The newly appointed members are Associate Professor of Biology Christine Broussard, Professor of Mathematics Cheyenne Liu and Assistant Professor of Special Education Dawn Whitt.

The consortium also welcomes volunteers to join in to expand the progress and to plan for the future.

“The committee is meant to include students, faculty and staff to be involved,” Neher said.

Deborah Walden, director of administration and operations, decided to volunteer in the committee.

She had a general interest since her father was a biology teacher and she grew up being environmentally friendly.

“It is amazing the committee is in existence,” Walden said. “It has had road blocks, but has made progress.”

The consortium is focusing on their goals of gaining momentum and getting more participation.

“We highly encourage students to be involved,” Walden said.

“Students are the future,” director of purchasing and volunteer Deborah Deacy said.

Students Engaged in Environmental Discussion and Service is a student organization that is involved and supporting the consortium with making a positive difference to better the campus.

In 2009, the two largest contributors of carbon dioxide were energy and transportation.

The consortium is working to lower those numbers.

“We are trying to reduce the University’s negative impact on mother nature,” Walden said.

The consortium is also working on finalizing their mission statement and values to highlight their goals.

“Our vision is currently premature and is in progress,” Deacy said. “It is in draft form.”

The consortium does not have a budget to work with so any money they gain is done by soliciting for funds.

“Sometimes we take a step forward, but then we end up taking a step back because our budget does not allow us to move forward,” Walden said.

Walden said it is very hard to achieve anything since many of the members and volunteers have other jobs and therefore need to set time aside in order to continue with further plans for the committee.

She believes that if there was a director to coordinate and oversee the activity within the consortium, it will allow them to make more progress.

“There is no finish line,” Deacy said. “It is a continued effort.”

Sarah Veissalov can be reached at sarah.veissalov@laverne.edu.

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