SALISBURY, MD---We’ve all heard of the three R’s—readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic—but what about the two E’s: education and environmental responsibility?
Salisbury University recently took an important step toward becoming a climate-neutral campus, working with students from the SU-based Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to collect data on the campus’ carbon emissions from 1990 to today. As part of the project, known as a “carbon inventory,” Franklin P. Perdue School of Business students studying small business consulting with SBDC Director John Hickman tracked information on SU’s population, energy use and horticulture using data from the past 17 years.
“Part of our commitment to becoming a climate-neutral campus is to educate,” said Greig Mitchell, SU vice president of administration and finance. “By involving students, we not only get the practical application with the data, but we also get the educational impact.”
Students entered the data they collected into a carbon calculator provided by Clean Air-Cool Planet, a leading organization dedicated to finding and promoting solutions to global warming. The results showed the amounts of carbon emissions resulting from various operations of the University.
During the next phase, students will use that information to analyze current patterns and create future carbon emission projections, which they will present to an SU sustainability committee. The committee will then use that data to determine how to best reduce carbon emissions on campus.
Future projects may include a study of student, faculty and staff commuting patterns and how to reduce the number of vehicles at SU via carpooling, public transportation or other options, Mitchell said. The ultimate goal is to produce no net green house gas emissions at SU.
“This project gives seniors a chance to apply the core business knowledge they’ve learned with a real client (SU) and gain experience in the field,” Hickman said. “Students get to work in a real-life setting in a real-time application.”
Hickman’s students participate in similar consulting projects for up to 10 other businesses each semester.
SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach recently joined some 400 colleges and universities nationwide in fighting global warming by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The carbon inventory is the campus’ first initiative in meeting that pledge.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.