EDITORIAL: Recent sustainability award deserves praise

Feb. 21, 2012 Editorial Cartoon

Herald Staff

THE ISSUE: WKU was recently awarded a bronze medal in a nationwide sustainability assessment — its first time competing in the assessment.

OUR STANCE: As sustainability and environmental consciousness become bigger issues in today’s world, WKU is doing its part to stay on top of it, and its efforts deserve applause.

All of the Office of Sustainability’s hard work has merited a major reward. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (AASHE STARS) is a huge deal. The Herald offers the Office of Sustainability a big congratulations for receiving a bronze medal for its first time in the nationwide assessment.

The AASHE STARS program is the only report that presents information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. It scores participants in three key areas — Education and Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration and Engagement. In order to earn a ranking, the institution must do well in all three categories. The Office of Sustainability has already made a goal of achieving a silver for next year. 

Best of all, the sustainability office now knows the areas they need to improve in and how to go about it. With this in mind, achieving a silver ranking seems like a fully achievable goal. 

There isn’t any apparent downside to being more green and eco-friendly. 

As we face bigger budgets cuts, having less money go toward energy consumption is helping WKU become a more cost-effective university. 

 WKU saved more than $160,000 this past summer because of new energy-saving policies, an amount that can go a long way in our tough economic climate.  

Furthermore, WKU’s GreenToppers, the campus sustainability organization, is now looking to have a bigger role on campus. It appears we will be seeing an even bigger resurgence in sustainability efforts on campus. 

In the past year, Gary Ransdell Hall became LEED certified and WKU used coal-free heating during winter for the first time since 1927. 

These are major achievements, and in order to continue to achieve, the WKU community can make efforts to help our campus become more environmentally conscious.

The Herald thinks WKU students and faculty can work to help our university become more green. The GreenToppers and Sustainability office cannot do it all by themselves. With recycling bins throughout campus and in each dorm, there isn’t an excuse not to recycle.  

The green movement is taking over WKU, and the only thing to reap is a better and more beautiful campus. Office of Sustainability, keep up the good work. Our campus environment and the Herald thank you.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.