Environmental probation for Quinnipiac

Joe Addonizio

In case you missed the latest news on how great sustainability is at Quinnipiac, let me fill you in. Our school has made some big changes in the past few years, ranging from giant wind turbines to a single-stream recycling system. These changes along with some others were enough to improve our College Sustainability Report Card grade from last year.

But the sustainability grade we improved on is still one that might have you saying “I probably shouldn’t have gone to Dick’s.” Yes, our grade this past year was that bad: We received a D for 2011. This is an embarrassing improvement from the past two years, when we received a D-. Quinnipiac should be on academic probation (or environmental probation, I should say) as its “green GPA” over the last three years is 0.8.

I remember when I took a tour of Quinnipiac as a senior in high school and they preached how “green” they were and how they would be even greener in the years to come. I fell in love with Quinnipiac before hearing this but having helped start the environmental club at my high school senior year, this was the icing on the cake.

Once I became a Bobcat, I realized what I was told on my tour was baloney. In the café, paper plates and plastic utensils were used instead of real, reusable ones. The York Hill café is no different, as the landfills receive lots of love from Quinnipiac students while the environmental options sit under the counter, remaining unused. In the Ratt, similar standards are applied and at Mondo’s, if you get a sub or a wrap, you most likely will get enough wax paper to wrap up your new pair of Toms.

Quinnipiac had great plans for York Hill’s sustainability. It was laid out to be a fundamentally green campus and set an example for future colleges and organizations to follow. While the windmills are great as well as the solar panels tiling the roof of Crescent, this campus is far from environmentally safe. Sometimes I wonder whose idea it was to put the campus on a blank size hill that is half a mile long. I often ponder how much gas I lose every time I come up to campus and better yet, how “efficient” it is to run all these shuttles up and down the hill 100 times a day. I drive a Saturn Ion and feel like I can see my gas gauge go down as my car struggles to climb the mountain that is York Hill. Fueling a shuttle with 10,000 more pounds and 20 more passengers must have been why the IDD minor was dropped.

The hallways in the Crescent residence hall are lined with lights approximately six feet away from each other, so if you’ve ever taken the 10 minutes it takes to walk from one end to the other, you can only imagine how many lights are on each floor. Quinnipiac was smart enough to put the lights in all of the study rooms on sensors but not the ones in the hallways, which would save thousands of dollars each year. I also toured Northeastern in my college searches and they had “green elevators.” The York Hill residence halls have several elevators as well as two more in the parking garage. They are far from environmentally-friendly, though they are just as slow as the power-saving ones I experienced in Boston.

Our rivals down Whitney Avenue, Yale University received an A this year, a consistent improvement from a A- last year and a B+ the year before. UConn, which has a student body of close to 20,000, received a B+ this year. Even Fairfield University, a comparable school to Quinnipiac, received a better grade than us as it got a C this year. We as the student body should be more embarrassed for our poor grade than tying Yale this year in the Heroes Hat game.

Although the administration is to blame for much of our grade, we as students aren’t doing much to help. Our grade was so bad that the group Students for Environmental Action with the help of facilities decided to host a contest and bribe us to work toward bettering the environment in the Do it in the Dark Challenge. The challenge started March 23 and only one out of 13 residence halls had reduced its energy. Meanwhile, Eastview has increased its usage by 165.4 percent in less than two weeks and no money has been saved by our attempt at reducing energy. So for yourself, Quinnipiac and the world, try to help the environment out and be more sustainable.