Words by Alfonso Di Rocco
Illustrations by Katie Herchenroeder
We all love to recycle, but do our plastic bottles ever make it to the recycling plants? These are questions City college students might ask themselves.
Unknown to many, we at CCNY lack a sustainability department and thus lack dedicated, centralized oversight on issues such as water, recycling, procurement, transportation, and so much more. If you look online you’ll notice a great deal of information on CCNY Green, our former office who handled all of these areas very well- but the information is outdated and halted since their close in 2015. Since then, CCNY has struggled to provide comprehensive, cohesive, sustainability planning and oversight. I, and many others, want to change this problem.
To be successful in this endeavor we need policy changes, awareness, action, and effort. We need students willing to make change, administrators who are willing to listen to us- like President Boudreau who has time and time again showed his appreciation for this school and its environmental impact- and we need a united CCNY. With each step, we become one step closer to our inevitable goal – and I can promise you it is not a question of if, but of when.
Reviving sustainability at CCNY will not be an easy feat – but in order to be a progressive school and contribute to change, we need this revamp to bring back our former glory and ensure our future. Making City College a sustainable and environmentally conscious school not only benefits the reputation of the university, but also the integrity of our community, city, and planet. Many schools have high standards on sustainability, quite a few have goals of being 100% renewable by 2030. We used to have goals like these – such as our 0% carbon footprint by 2050. until the department was closed and forgotten.
One instance you may have heard about it is the talk of trash, paper recycling, and plastic recycling bins from the NAC being consolidated into one trash. This was quite surprising to me to hear from one of our very own faculty, Professor Volkmann; as I’m sure is the case for most students. Having a proper sustainability department on campus would ensure that these problems could never become a reality.
Thankfully, NYPIRG has not forgotten about sustainability or City College. I was given the opportunity to restart the campaign of sustainability here and I am so grateful to bring this amazing goal into a reality.
Currently, we have multiple clubs on campus, including CCNY Green and the Biology department, that are involved with this campaign – not to mention the Collin Powell School, many interested students at the Spitzer school, and our ongoing support from NAC goers, as most of you have seen us on campus and many of you personally met me. You know we mean business.
Our very own President Boudreau has opened up a pallet garden. CCNY’s very own president is showing a great step towards a renewable future and a beautiful one. We hope to open many more gardens on campus and cooperate with other groups and gardens to give students opportunities to be apart of this fantastic initiative.
We are reaching out to City College administration, alternative funding sources, and also USS for help with reviving the Sustainability Department at CCNY. City college was once a sustainable and respectable campus among the environmental community; however, since the department close some five or so years ago, it seems we have largely lost that credibility.
This semester, we are working to bring a land-based garden to the grounds of CCNY. I hope that when you see this you do not just see plants, but also see a start towards a renewable future.
In the Fall of 2019 we aim to talk to these influencing offices and seek their help in completing our goal of bringing back a sustainability department and office locally here at CCNY, eventually expanding it to all of CUNY.