TU hits carbon reduction goal

This piece was written for “The Towerlight” at Towson University as a Staff Writer. Check out this, and other stories from The Towerlight here:

http://thetowerlight.com/tu-hits-carbon-reduction-goal/

At Friday’s Presidents’ Climate Commitment Committee meeting, Planning and Sustainability Manager Patricia Watson said that Towson has already reached its goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020 but cautioned that it could increase again.

“As we grow as an institution we’re going to have more commuters, and unless we offer opportunities where they can live close affordably, that might string some of our data,” Watson said. “The second thing is, every time we add a building or increase our size we’re adding [to our carbon footprint.]”

The primary goal of the ACUPCC is to reduce Towson’s carbon footprint through the Climate Action Plan, which was signed by former Towson president Robert Caret. The action plan includes short and long term goals  that the committee is planning to facilitate in order to reach certain percent milestones of reducing Towson’s carbon footprint.

The committee is made up of primary faculty members including professors and representatives from the Department of Auxiliary Services and the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership.

It also includes student Eco-Reps, who help educate students on different ways to reduce their carbon footprint on campus. One of the projects the committee has been discussing is alternative transportation options.

One plan is to connect Towson shuttles to the MTA buses as Towson Row in uptown Towson continues to grow and expand through the future.

They also discussed making uptown Towson easier to access for pedestrians by using bridges. Having fewer vehicles on campus would help to reduce Towson’s carbon footprint, according to the committee.

Committee members discussed that many students take the shuttle even when it’s feasible to walk, with 50 percent of shuttle ridership coming from West Village residents, according to Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Daniel Slattery.

“You talk to a lot of people, and a lot of people say they’re really for it, and they agree, and they think [sustainability] is great, and then their own personal habits don’t reflect that,” Director of Parking and Transportation Pam Mooney said.

The committee also works with students, Eco-Reps and others, in doing projects to get more student awareness and involvement. Upcoming events include a Towson Run stream clean up, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12.

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