Fordham Accepts Green Initiative


FORDHAM – The goal is sustaining the earth, and Fordham, along with other NYC institutions and Catholic colleges across the country, is joining the fight. On June 6, Fordham announced that it has accepted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s challenge to reduce the university’s carbon dioxide footprint by 30 percent by 2017. The Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, said the university is happy to join the Mayor’s initiative, not only because it is a New York institution, but because it is a Jesuit institution.

“We are deeply aware of the fact that responsible stewardship of the earth is a charge from God our creator, who has entrusted it to our care,” McShane said in a statement. “Therefore, we are aware that we must bring to the present challenge all the wisdom and commitment that we can muster.”

Fordham is one of nine NYC colleges and universities that have accepted the challenge. The schools are known as “2030 Challenge Partners” and will each create an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions, after which they will devise a plan for how they intend to achieve reductions, according to a press release by the Mayor’s office.

According to Fordham Public Affairs, however, the university has already taken steps in the area. It has installed a building management system on both campuses that monitors and optimizes the efficiency of the heating, ventilation, and air condition operations, and can automatically shed electrical power load during times of high demand. The university has also introduced energy efficient lighting elements, motion detectors and timing devices on fluorescent light controls, and installed thermo-pane energy efficient windows.

But Fordham also shares goals with colleges and universities outside of New York. According to an article published by the Catholic News Service (CNS), developing a sustainable campus has always been a goal for many Catholic colleges and universities. CNS reports that schools such as Georgetown, Boston College and St. Xavier University in Chicago, have all invested in green initiatives and campaigns, owing much of their motivation to their Catholic missions.

Joan Cavanagh, associate director of Campus Ministry at Fordham, said that it is important for Fordham to help protect the earth because the Jesuits are committed to the promotion of justice, including ecological justice. “Environmental issues which negatively impact the earth and the atmosphere tend to have greater negative impact on third world countries where so many of the world’s poor live,” Cavanagh said. “To be committed to becoming green, then, is totally in line with the promotion of justice.”

Cavanagh added that many Catholic teachings fall in line with the notions of sustainability and caring for the environment. In a June 2002 document, Pope John Paul II reminded Catholics of the obligation to be “stewards called to collaborate with God in watching over creation,” Cavanagh said. Teachings also point to the need for a code of environmental ethics, she said.

The Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center cited Pope Benedict XVI from a meeting on July 24, 2007, in which he states, “We can no longer simply do what we like or what seems useful and promising at the time with this earth of ours…we must respect the inner laws of creation, of this earth, we must learn these laws and obey these laws if we wish to survive.”

As Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus plans for a possible expansion, Grimes said that ‘greenness’ will continue to be an important factor. Grimes said that it is also important, however, for individual efforts to be made on campus. He said even the simple task of recycling can make a difference. “It is just amazing how much stuff we use,” he said.

Green Tips for College Students

1. RECYCLE EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY PAPER: Use paper recycling bins on campus. And recycle other items as well, including cans, bottles and cardboard boxes.
2. USE PRINTER WISELY: You can save paper by printing on both sides of the page. Use the high quality print settings for things that need to look nice.Otherwise, use the low quality setting.
3. LIMIT THE USE OF DISPOSABLE CUPS, PLATES and NAPKINS: Buy some inexpensive plates and wash them. Don’t forget that just one napkin does the trick!
4. USE COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS: These bulbs cost more, but they last longer and ultimately save you money.