Students Kevin Tam and Shilla Lee, members of the ongoing "Trust the
Tap" campaign, challenge fellow scholars at Harney Plaza on April 3 to
a taste test between tap water and bottled water, with many choosing
tap. The campaign aims to dramatically reduce the amount of bottled
water consumed on campus, saving on petroleum and greenhouse gases used
to produce water bottles.
The University of San Francisco is stepping up efforts to reduce its
environmental impact, with initiatives to cut bottled water consumption
on campus, improve recycling, and increase the amount of solar power
generated by photovoltaic cells.
The initiatives, along with the
appointment of a new administrative committee to support and promote
the various campus programs, come as environmental concerns about
global warming have made headline news over the last year.
by Glenn Loomis, community relations director, the "Green Team," as the
committee is known, has met several times since forming last October.
"The Green Team's purpose is to look into how we can make USF more
sustainable by lessening the carbon footprint of the campus so that we
are a better citizen of the world," Loomis said.
At the top of
the "to do" list, when it comes to greening USF's campus, are plans to
cut water bottle consumption by increasing reusable container sales
through Bon Appetit - including at Club Ed Cafe, Crossroads Cafe,
Kendrick Cafe, Market Cafe, and Outtakes Cafe - and installing water
refill stations around campus, increasing the amount of recyclables
captured from the general waste to 75 percent, and expanding the
university's solar power capacity by nearly six fold.
programs underway include efforts to increase bicycle commuting to
campus through promotion and by providing more racks for secure bicycle
parking, a pilot composting effort in residence halls, and the
replacement of light fixtures and light bulbs in classrooms and offices
to gain efficiency.
Once viewed as a "hippy-dippy" trend by
some, campus greening efforts are now a growing consideration for
prospective USF students and parents, said Joe Murphy, environmental
safety manager for USF and head of USF's recycling efforts for the
10-member Green Team.
The recently launched "Trust the Tap"
campaign, being managed by students, is meant to educate the USF
community about the environmental harm caused by drinking bottled
water, said Kevin Tam, one of about 80 Principle of Accounting II
students involved in the service-learning program for the Green Team.
tap water, proven by scientists to be just as clean as the bottled
variety, will help reduce the 17 million barrels of oil and 2.5 million
tons of carbon dioxide needed to produce bottled water containers,
according to Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research group devoted to
creating a healthy, sustainable planet.
On the recycling side,
Murphy hopes that ongoing public "dissections" of USF dumpsters will
increase the amount of recyclables captured from 63 percent currently
to 75 percent. Recent inspections have shown that almost 25 percent of
the garbage found in USF general waste dumpsters could be recycled or
composted saving landfill space, he said.
To illustrate his
point, he plans to fill Harney Plaza with clear trash bags full of
dumpster waste on Earth Day, April 22, to show just how much of what is
being dumped in the general waste should be going into recycle bins.
the biggest single environmental improvement will come in late April or
early May, however, when new solar panels on the Koret Health and
Recreation Center, University Center, Cowell Hall, and the renovated
Kalmanovitz Hall are turned on. The additional solar tapping cells will
increase USF's power generating capacity from a maximum of about 71
kilowatts per hour to 420 kilowatts per hour, said Everette Ersery,
assistant director of facilities.
"It will significantly
reduce our carbon footprint and electrical bill, while reducing the
amount of energy we and PG&E use," Ersery said.