Green Committee Meeting Minutes
September 21, 2009
Attending: Ray Bailey (chairman, MA), Mary Frances Vito (MEC), Ruth Stanton (MEC), Kathleen Odigé (MEC), Victor Zabielski (AL), Jennifer Richardson (WO), Hector Revollo (WO), Susan Thompson (WO), Callan Bentley (AN), Joe Gesa (LO).
This inaugural meeting of the 09/10 academic year began at 3:00 in the Brault Building. Ray was reappointed by group vote as chairman and Susan Thompson chosen to be secretary.
The minutes of the previous meeting (May 4, 2009) were reviewed and approved.
The meeting began with a discussion of meeting times. Mondays were agreed upon. An October 5th meeting was considered if the boardroom is available. Ray will keep us posted.
Ray reviewed the committee responsibilities and noted that we could do a better job of sharing information across campuses so that one campus is aware of what the others are doing. He noted that because we are a committee we can make recommendations but we do not have the authority to issue orders or command action. As a committee we lack the budget, resources, and support staff of a Sustainability Coordinator, a position that would be an administrative arm to environmental planning for the college.
Sustainability Coordinator: Ray referred us to the memo he sent to Dr. Templin on August 26, 2009 suggesting either the creation of a new position for Sustainability Coordinator or allocating such responsibilities to an existing administrative position. (No response yet from the president.) Because of current budget issues such a position may be seen as a further drain on college resources. Is it worth pursuing? Ray suggested we do more ground work-see what other institutions do, for example. A Regional Consortium for Sustainability Coordinators was created this summer which we would like to be included in, however, this may be difficult without a Sustainability Coordinator to meet the workload demands (Ray noted that, on the other hand, many Sustainability Coordinators have administrative power but lack the credibility that comes with a group of well-informed committee members.) Alternatively we can find a place to put the responsibilities of Sustainability Coordinator. Ruth suggested someone like Mitch Markon at Loudoun while Callan suggested a more centralized person (AN).
Victor noted the negative consequences of not acting on this issue. If we hold off it could be viewed as lagging behind and may generate negative publicity. Ray suggested we move ahead by trying to get a full time position for Sustainability Coordinator while seeking out a potential representative.
Committee Membership: The committee discussed attendance issues generally and particularly noted the importance of regular attendance by its administrative members, whose presence helps ensure better informed deliberation and provides access to the President and Administrative Council for committee actions and deliberations. The committee asked Ray to encourage full attendance and participation by all members. Since no Provost has yet been appointed to serve on the committee, Callan agreed to ask Barbara Saperstone if she would be willing to serve again.
New Buildings and LEED ratings: One area in which the Green Committee has made progress is in making recommendations to assure that all new construction be LEED-based or even fully certified. Callan described the LEED rating system. Hector inquired whether the new building to be built at WO campus meets LEED standards.
Recycling: There is some confusion within the committee as to the new janitorial and trash removal contracts the college negotiated last year. Are any details known? Do we see evidence on the campuses of new practices? Hector shared an email sent to Woodbridge campus by Les Krogh about new single-stream recycling. Is this for the entire college? (It was noted that with an administrator at the meeting these questions could be answered.) Jennifer will talk to Les about the system. Ray will ask Bill Chamberlain for an update on contracts and implementation on each campus (and request Bill attend the next meeting). Joe noted that at Loudoun he has seen trash and recyclables put into same can by janitorial staff. Questions for Bill: Who is responsible on each campus for recycling and trash removal? How are these things monitored? Jennifer suggested asking the GMU Sustainability Coordinator how this is handled there. Also we should ask her about whether other institutions have appointed a Sustainability Coordinator rather than creating a new position.
Student Conference at George Mason: There will be a national conference on sustainability issues at GMU. Ray would like to have NOVA students involved. Will forward email about the conference to Annandale and other campuses with student Green Committees.
Events in October: Information of all of the following will be forwarded by Ray: The Annual Tour of Solar Homes takes place on October 3 & 4th. The National Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in D.C. happens from October 9-18th. One of the major sustainability conferences in the country, the Green Festival at the D.C. Convention center, will be on October 10 & 11th.
Suggestions for Program for this Year? Questions to consider: Should we do something at each campus or a universal event? What form should the program take? What people should be part of? The film A Sea Change was suggested by Victor. Another suggestion is the environmentalist and author Bill McKibbon as speaker. Callan volunteered to look into this.
Odds and Ends: Jennifer noted that Dean Lewis at Woodbridge is interested in starting a Green Club on campus. We discussed why new members joined the committee. Ray recommended an article “Have a Nice Day” in the New York Times Sept 15, 2009 and book Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman regarding U.S. sustainability policies. We are hoping to get the Sustainability Coordinator from George Mason to attend our next meeting.
Meeting ended at around 5:00.