DOC Trips Preview: Sustainability @ Dartmouth

Sustainability @ Dartmouth

Hey ‘16s!

Allow ourselves to introduce…. ourselves!  We are Annie-Laurie and Mike, the Sustainability Chairs for the 2012 First-Year DOC Trips Program! First of all, congratulations on making a great decision by coming to Dartmouth — we hope you enjoy yourself here and get as much out of your time at the College on the Hill as we have.

As we are sure you’ve noticed by now — whether it was through the sustainability-themed skit in the Dimensions Show or riding around campus in the Big Green Bus during Dimensions — creating a healthier relationship with our environment is a big part of life at Dartmouth. Our new EcoReps Program provides a leadership position where first-year students (that’s you so soon!) can make important changes and improvements to Dartmouth’s sustainability — their big project this past term has been reducing water bottle usage through a campaign called “I’d Tap That” (get it?) in which hundreds of students pledged to not use plastic water bottles for all of the Spring term. The EcoReps work through the Office of Sustainability led by the amazing Rosi Kerr, the College’s Sustainability Director (and former volunteer with DOC Trips, woah!). 

Pretty much everything sustainability-related goes through and is coordinated by that office.  In addition, you can even minor in sustainability through the Environmental Science department!  This collection of classes available for the minor include everything  from economics to public policy to engineering to anthropology…it’s the perfect complement to any course of study because it helps you take important concepts and apply them to one of the most important issues (keeping the planet — and thereby the human race — healthy) of our time. Woo!

When you arrive on campus, you will see a number of sustainability initiatives already in place.  All of our food waste from  the Class of 1953 Commons is composted, and there are compost bins for your convenience in the Collis Cafe and the Courtyard Cafe (in the Hopkins Center) too. It’s super easy to separate the stuff that can and cannot be composted, but that little effort on your part will make a huge difference in how much volume the College send to landfills.

It seems like everyone now-a-days is recycling, but we do it better. Obviously. We use a Zero-Sort system, so you can toss your glass, paper, plastic, to-go food containers, cardboard, and other recyclable things all into the same bin. It’s so easy, a Harvard student could do it!

And before you go out and buy yourself a new fan or lots of clothes hangers, or a fridge for your dorm room, check out our Sustainable Move-In Sale that happens the first few days of the fall. Basically, graduating students, and anyone else who doesn’t have room for their things in storage for the summer, donates their stuff to the Sustainable Move-In Sale, where you can buy those last-minute dorm essentials in great condition for a huge markdown. Personally, I (Mike) got my fan, fridge, and binders from the sale. This way we can reduce the raw materials needed to make new things for ourselves, and save a ton of money. Plus, the nearest IKEA is in Boston anyway!

The Big Green Bus is another really cool thing we have here. This biodiesel-powered ex-Greyhound bus is driven by students (including another member of the 2012 DOC Trips Directorate, Remy Franklin ’13!) across the country and back every summer to raise awareness about climate change and other environmental issues. Check them out online if you want to learn more…they may be stopping in your hometown this summer & they’d love to meet ’16s!

So what are we doing on DOC Trips to be sustainable?

Just a preview of some things you can expect…We source the vast majority of our food from local producers (which makes it taste better anyway), we minimize waste, and we compost. But most importantly, we teach you. We teach you that you never throw something ‘away,’ you only throw it to a place you can’t see it anymore — but someone else can.

We teach you how to compost and leave no trace (LNT). We teach you about respecting the wonderful area that is your new home. And we teach you that you are the change the world (and Dartmouth) needs. You, the Class of 2016, bear on your shoulders the responsibility of saving the world. Because as one of our most famous alumni (Dr. Seuss, duh) wrote…

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…it’s not.”

But no pressure.

See you this Fall!

Annie Laurie Mauhs-Pugh ’14 & Mike Perlstein ’14

P.S. If you have questions about sustainability at Dartmouth, want to learn more, or get involved…feel free to blitz us!

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