At Davidson, 2008-09 was the Year of Sustainability--a campus-wide effort to reduce the college's carbon footprint and increase awareness about sustainability issues. To guide the year, Davidson set a series of goals with measurable outcomes to be pursued during the Year of Sustainability and beyond. These goals were focused on reducing solid waste through composting, recycling, and reducing consumption of bottled water and paper. Check out our first Sustainability Annual Report (pdf) and see below for more information.
The College also underwent a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory process that will determine Davidson's carbon footprint. Davidson will use this inventory to guide future decisions about sustainability and general campus planning.
Finally, Davidson aimed to take sustainability into the community through research, partnerships, and educational initiatives. To that end, efforts were made to increase the presence of sustainability in curriculum, so that students can integrate sustainability concepts into their lives. Additionally, many partnerships with organizations in the Town of Davidson were made, including Ingersoll Rand, the Davidson Farmers Market, and many local schools.
Goals and Outcomes of the Year of Sustainability
Goal 1. Disposable Water Bottles
Reduce consumption of plastic water bottles by 75%.
Progress: Bottled water consumption has been reduced 85% overall.
Dining Services has reduced bottled water consumption by 100%.
Savings: $32,500, 39,210 bottles of water
Goal 2. Food Waste
Reduce by 50% once compost facility is up and running.
Progress: The composter went online April 1st. The Commons and the Union Cafe are supplying the composter with food waste daily.
Vail Commons has gone from three trash pickups per week to two trash pickups per week.
About 75% of Davidson's food waste is being composted.
Savings: Over $8,000 annually.
Progress: The Union Cafe and the Wildcat Den have begun serving meals in re-usable baskets, decreasing the number of paper plates used by 50% and the amount of trash produced by 60%. If sustained, this initiative will keep 7,500 paper plates out of the waste stream every month, accounting for more than 400 bags of trash.
Savings: About $700 a month.
Goal 3. Recycling
Reduce recyclables found in trash by 50% from past years.
Progress: According to the spring Recycling Audit, 19% of Davidson's trash could have been recycled, a 42% decrease from last year. This is likely due to the individual recycling bins passed out to students this year, and the new outdoor recycling bins on Patterson Court.
Goal 4. Paper Consumption
Reduce paper use by 15%.
Progress: Davidson has reduced its paper use by 17%. All paper used on campus is at least 50% recycled content (exceptions apply when no recycled content paper is available for a certain product).
Savings: Almost $14,000 and over 1,571,000 sheets of paper.
Progress: ITS has implemented PawPrint, a print management system, in Belk student computing lab and the Union. Since November, it has kept more than 25,000 sheets of paper from being wasted.
Savings: Over $2,000
Goal 5. Utilities Efficiency
Increase efficiency, raise awareness.
Progress: The Environmental Action Coalition's annual energy competition, Do It in the Dark, occurred in the month of November. Seven of nine dorms decreased energy consumption compared to October. The Down the Hill dorms -- Akers, Irwin, and Knox -- decreased their energy usage by almost 25%!
Goal 6. Transportation
Research how faculty and staff get to and from work, and how students get around campus. Explore options for alternative forms of transportation.
Progress: A commuting survey sent to all faculty and staff revealed that 19% of faculty and staff walk and 10% ride a bicycle to work 2-6 times per week. Additionally, 15% of faculty and staff rarely or never drive to work.