Goucher College embarked on a far-reaching campaign to promote environmental sustainability through both its co-curricular activities and its academic programs after President Sanford Ungar signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in 2007.
The college completed its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventory in 2010, and in May 2011, Goucher completed its first Climate Action Plan (CAP), which set a goal to reduce the college's greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.
To help lower the impact transportation has on the community's carbon footprint, Goucher now offers these alternative modes beyond the college's gates: We have partnered with Zipcar; launched a car-pooling program, Gopher-A-Ride Together; and our blue bike sharing program has a fleet of 10 cruiser bikes.
Goucher students have developed programs to enhance the college's recycling program; to raise awareness of carbon-neutrality policies; and to begin a composting program, organic garden, and greenhouse production. Each year, student groups also spearhead the college's participation in Recyclemania, a 10-week competition that inspires college and universities to reduce waste and recycle more.
Our energy conservation projects are consistently being reviewed and supplemented - we purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), use only green cleaning products, and changed over our interior and exterior lighting on campus to LEDs. Last year, we began composting all the food waste in our dining halls, which complements our already-existing comprehensive campus-wide recycling program. Utility submetering for each building on campus is now being implemented, which will encourage competition to lower energy costs between users in each building and to raise awareness of the amount of energy being consumed.
In 2009, Goucher adopted a policy to ensure all new buildings or major renovations to existing buildings are planned with the goal of achieving at least a LEED-certified Silver level, and the college's newest facility, the Athenaeum, last year became the college's first LEED-certified Gold building. In 2010, the college launched a new environmental studies major, adding to the environmental sustainability requirement already in place for all students.
Our food service provider, Bon Appétit, is committed to supporting local farmers and food producers who provide organic fruits and vegetables, hormone-free dairy products, and free-range meats to Goucher's dining facilities. The company also has initiated the use of eco-friendly food containers on campus, which are used at catered events. Bon Appétit sponsors "low-carbon diet days" and "eat local days" each semester, and in addition to the eco-events they sponsor, GESAC hosts a series of additional environmentally themed events on campus throughout the academic year.
These programs and initiatives reflect the important ways in which Goucher's administration, students, faculty, and staff have helped to make environmental sustainability a priority on our campus.