Center for Sustainability Education and Research
Student Sustainability Outreach Campaign
Bridgewater College has been participating in the RecycleMania competition since 2007, primarily in the paper, corrugated cardboard and bottles/cans categories. RecycleMania is a friendly eight-week competition among America’s colleges and universities’ recycling programs, including universities and colleges from overseas. During each year’s competition, students engage in recycling collection efforts to reduce waste and raise awareness of conservation issues across campus.
Students work to promote the RecycleMania competition on campus, courtesy of the Keep America Beautiful Inc. grant. In addition, a student recycling crew is responsible for the weekly weight reports and coordination of logistics: flattening cardboard boxes, transportation and sorting materials.
Sustainability Outreach and Publication
The BC chapters of Philomathean Society and Alpha Chi Omega provide opportunities to publish and disseminate student research, including sustainability. The Virginia Gamma Chapter of Alpha Chi, a national collegiate honor society, hosts a student presentation opportunity each spring for original research in any academic discipline. Presentations are scheduled during a Convocation program, generally in late April. For more information, please visit: Undergraduate Research.
We have a student who writes articles on sustainability-related topics, such as renewable energy, energy conservation efforts, sustainable dining, sustainability differences between the US and India and other topics in the student newspaper, Veritas, on a regular basis.
Student groups that promote sustainability efforts on campus and in the community:
- The Bridgewater Campus Chapter of New Community Project (NCP) manages the community bike project (Bike! BC), assists with the community garden and recycling efforts on campus and raises funds for environmental and social justice concerns around the world. NCP also volunteers at the New Community Project organization of Harrisonburg, and their work includes promoting sustainable lifestyles and a community of support for those in need. In 2011, NCP supported the launching of a student run program called Think Outside the Bottle (TOTB), to curb the use of plastic water bottles on campus. The campaign includes petitioning faculty, staff and students to end the use of plastic water bottles on campus. TOTB is also supported by the Ultimate Environmental Task Force (see below).
- The Environmental Task Force (ETF), which is being organized under a new name, the Ultimate Environmental Task Force (UETF), has been a focal group on campus to promote sustainability. In the first year of existence, it organized the first ever Environmental Week at Bridgewater College, in which a different organization on campus held an environmentally focused educational activity each day of that week. On November 15, 2012, UTEF celebrated America Recycles Day by placing handmade cardboard recycling containers on campus grounds to encourage recycling. UETF works with the Center for Sustainability as a liaison between students from different organizations and the Center.
- The Alpha Phi Omega (APO) club assists with the RecycleMania competition and Earth Day Activities.
The Campus Community Garden was initiated by students, faculty and staff to engage our community about the natural world, to promote local and organic food and to provide our students with a live lab on gardening and sustainable choices.
In the past two years, students planted a crop of greens, mainly spinach, in late February for harvest in May just before graduation, while in the summer, the community garden is tended by a group of faculty since students are not on campus. Students have been involved with composting, cover-cropping, and other organic techniques to feed the soil. In several years, students did a service project to gather leaves for the garden while taking donations for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
The Outdoor Program, called Eagle Adventures, has enabled students to participate in white-water rafting, hiking, rock climbing, trail riding, canoeing, caving, snow tubing, and other trips. The participants always meet on campus, take a school van to the site and follow the Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, designed to promote conservation in the outdoors. Leave No Trace is built on seven principles: Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, and Be Considerate of Other Visitors. In addition, they have outdoor equipment available for rent with student identification. These include sports equipment, hiking packs, tents, kayaks and so on. For further details, please visit: Outdoor Programs
In the past few years, we have had several speakers come to campus to lecture on sustainability-related matters:
- Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherds, and director/star in Animal Planet's “Whale Wars”, spoke on whales, their impact on their ecosystem and Japanese whaling.
- Sonya Shah spoke on the effects of oil consumption.
- Edith Widder, marine biologist, spoke on oil spills, general waterway pollution, and techniques to document and improve environmental disasters.
- Joel Salatin spoke on organic farming.
- Annie Leonard, spoke on “The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health—and a Vision for Change”
- David Radcliff, founder of the New Community Project, spoke on global warming and faith and the environment.