In response to long-standing interests of faculty and students alike, and current practices at other institutions of higher learning, the Environmental Priorities Committee (EPC) of Hofstra University would like to affirm and support the university's commitment to protect, preserve and enhance the environment within and around the campus through sound and sustainable ecological practices in a manner that not only directly benefits the community on campus, in the county and on Long Island, but also educates by increasing awareness and knowledge of the complexity of environmental issues and their resolution. The EPC would like to bring environmental perspectives into consideration of issues relating to university life at all levels, from operations to academics to student life, retention and recruitment. Hofstra University should be a model in actual practice right now as well as a center for the study of viable practices and technologies for the future. A clear and explicit commitment to environmental or "green" practices is long overdue and would help demonstrate Hofstra University's leadership position in the state and region in both academic and civic communities. The status of Hofstra's campus as national arboretum should represent to the world that Hofstra is also a "green" campus in the fullest sense.
Hofstra commitment to environmental priorities, in study and in practice, will benefit the university in multiple ways:
- The demonstration that Hofstra cares for its students, the community on campus, and the larger communities to which it belongs, and that therefore Hofstra wishes to model and teach responsible practices within those communities.
- The development of environmental studies programs or environmental aspects of existing programs to teach and encourage environmental literacy, or how to live responsibly in terms of the environmental impact of human activity.
- Through responsible environmental practices, and programming, Hofstra will encourage the sense of community on campus among students and all employees linked in common interests and responsibilities. Environmental sensitivity goes hand-in-hand with sensitivity to other aspects of a community based on mutual respect and equality.
- Hofstra's enhanced sense of a cohesive community for residents and commuters --of life together on campus-- through shared environmental practices could increase student retention, depth of identification with the institution and also serve as a recruitment tool for concerned, committed, highly motivated students.
- Environmental practices do not necessarily conflict with economic considerations but rather can coincide with sound economic practices and promote prosperity in the fullest sense: the university could experience financial savings through conservation, additional recycling and management of resources, or the alleviation of other problems, such as parking, through organized carpooling, when possible. The University should also consider the development of an Institute for Environmental Practice and Policy, possibly linked to the Center for Suburban Studies as a regional think tank for environmental concerns.
The EPC would like to work toward these goals by:
- collecting information about current practices in the manner of an environmental audit.
- conducting a survey of student and employee interests and expertise, and ideas on environmental issues in and around the university, and to examine possible links with, for example, the Law School, School of Business and School of Education courses and outreach programs.
- conducting an assessment of what practices might be instituted in the short- and in the long term as steps toward the goal of sustainability.
- establishing relations to other university environmental groups for the exchange of ideas and reciprocal support, possibly at first within the CAA Colonial Athletic Association/ Colonial Academic Alliance), but also beyond that association. A CAA meeting on environmental practices might be a starting point.
- establishing relations to other environmental organizations, for purposes of support, information and possibly student internships
- developing an EPC website for Hofstra in order to provide an accessible point of contact for communication and information.
- developing on that website for general consultation an expanding list or checklist of practices that can be adopted by individuals (on campus and at home), groups, departments, divisions, colleges, various university-operations units, and by the university as a whole: from reusable coffee cups and paper recycling, to energy-saver lightbulbs, and computer waste recycling, to pollution reduction.
- initiating a Hofstra Blue/Gold & Green Newsletter on recent developments and recommendations
- arranging special Green events, such as Earth Day celebrations, and speakers.
- developing funding sources for such activities, ideally through our own environmental practices, but not excluding on- and off-campus donors.