Friday, April 20, 2012

Sustainability at Boston University

From April 16 through April 26, Boston University held “Earth Week +,” an experience consisting of events on the BU campus. 

“Earth Week +” is supposed to teach “about different environmental issues,” said Sabrina Pashtan, sustainability coordinator for BU’s Dining Services.

For Dining Services, many events are about food, like “Composting Comes Out,” an event that, Pashtan explained, allowed students eating in any of BU’s five dining halls to put their compostable waste into a garbage bucket themselves. 

“When you put your dish on the dish belt, there’s someone in the back putting it into the compost barrel,” Pashtan said.  “So on that day, we bring it out to the front so all the students can scrape their food waste and napkins into the compost barrel themselves, and the point is to raise awareness and hopefully create some mindfulness around food waste, so only taking what you need.”

View Boston University-Recycling and Composting in the Dining Halls in a larger map

Another “Earth Week+” event conducted by the university’s Dining Services was a class that taught participants how to do vegetarian cooking.  The purpose of the session was “to promote vegetarianism, which…can be considered more environmentally friendly than meat-eating,” Pashtan said.  

 But “Earth Week +” isn’t the only time Dining Services is environmentally friendly.  April 16 was “Make a Difference Monday” in the campus cafeterias, an event that’s held once each month and advocates, as Pashtan said, "eating a low-carbon diet."

Environmental friendliness for the university’s Dining Services also includes initiatives that are aimed at actively helping the environment as opposed to just teaching about it.  A new eating establishment is scheduled to open in the fall at 100 Bay State Road, and Pashtan said it will be certified as a green restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association.

“We have very energy efficient fans and hoods for the exhaust system, an infrared system that measures the amount of smoke coming up and adjusts fans accordingly, so we’ll save a lot of energy there,” Pashtan said of the new eatery.  “And…we have a special pulper system that will…basically dehydrate all the food waste so that Save That Stuff, our recycling provider, needs to come once or twice a week as opposed to six times a week, so that’ll cut down on the carbon footprint quite a bit.” 

To be sure, “Earth Week+” involves multiple organizations hosting events.  Listed on a Sustainability at BU page for instance are events hosted by the likes of the Environmental Student Organization and the School of Hospitality Administration.

Though I personally got to enjoy only a very small snippet of “Earth Week +,” I’m hoping I’ll get to some events in the future.

 Hearing about them got me interested in attending just for fun.

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