Sustainability groups need to step up in organization


Joel Bautista | The Ticker

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

As you walk up the stairs that lead to Baruch College’s second-floor lobby, statements like “Go green! Take the stairs” jump out at you. These statements, a sign of Baruch trying to promote sustainability and the environment are plastered on each step in sticker form, proudly boasting the Environmental Cooperation Organization club’s logo.

Despite this, the escalators that run parallel to the staircase, in addition to the ones that lead to the third, fourth and fifth floors, run almost constantly, except for certain periods during the afternoon when they’re shut off at Con Edison’s request.

There are posters in classrooms on every floor of the Newman Vertical Campus that remind students to take their trash with them and to recycle.

Despite this, many of the lights are on in the building invariably, aside from the rooms where the lights are motion-dependent and shut off after a set amount of time that the room is empty.

Baruch is home to a minimum of four environmental or sustainability groups.

These include the Baruch College Climate Change Faculty Seminar, the ECO club, the Baruch College Task Force on Sustainability and the Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Committee.

Yet a quick Google search brings up barely anything at all on any of the groups.

The task force has a nice, organized website, with a blog and events calendar, but all the posts are from 2015.

When “Baruch College USG sustainability committee” is searched up, the only thing that pops up is a Facebook event from over a year ago in which the committee and the task force met “in the effort to ‘greenify’ Baruch.”

However, the second link that is listed is for Fordham University’s USG sustainability committee, which has its own neat website. The faculty seminar doesn’t have any webpage at all, though there is a Blogs@Baruch site titled “Baruch Climate Change Seminar Series,” with the most recent post from 2015.

Lastly, the ECO club doesn’t have a website. Instead they have a Facebook page and an Instagram account, and is featured on the Baruch Student Affairs’ website’s “Student Clubs and Organizations: Undergraduate Student Clubs Descriptions (A-H)” page with a brief description.

Chair of the task force and member of the seminar, psychology professor Mindy Engle-Friedman implied in an interview with The Ticker that the different environmental groups on campus don’t work together very much.

“We’re happy to work with [the USG sustainability committee] but they don’t have anything really to do with [the task force and the faculty seminar],” she said.

“And there’s the ECO club, they’re also involved and they’re involved in sustainability and they really do lots of programs to educate people about the environment and the natural world. But we don’t really have a direct relationship with them, but we connect with them. They know that our programs are going on.”

How can it honestly be said that Baruch is doing enough for sustainability?

It offers almost no online resources for its environmental programs, leaves the lights, computers and escalators on 24/7 and the groups that work on this issue aren’t even coordinated? It can’t be.