How We Started
The Resource Working Group (RWG) was convened in 1996, as an outgrowth of an ad hoc committee set up by the Provost's Office in 1994. This group was called the Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Policies for College Operations (CEPCO), It issued a report in February 1995. Membership on CEPCO included students, faculty, and administrators who had expertise and interest in environmental issues. CEPCO's charge was to develop a set of institutional guidelines aimed at increasing the efficiency of resource use of Dartmouth.
Very early in its deliberations, CEPCO developed the following statement of commitment with regard to Dartmouth and the environment.
"Dartmouth College is committed to developing and maintaining a sustainable and environmentally responsible mode of operation, within the context of its educational mission, fiscal constraints, and responsibilities to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the local community. Dartmouth's commitment to environmental responsibility is intended both to educate the Dartmouth community about environmental issues and to minimize the College's adverse impact on the environment."
In addition, the Committee developed the following recommendations. Throughout the recommendations, the Committee endeavored to suggest both how Dartmouth as an institution can lessen its environmental impact and also how each individual within the Dartmouth community can pursue more environmentally conscious behaviors.
- Procurement Services - develop institution-wide policies for the purchase of recycled/recyclable products; develop means to test these products; develop policies for the procurement, distribution, and storage of hazardous products; develop a practice of repairing/refurbishing durable products; find effective ways to educate the College community about Procurement Services issues.
- Recycling, re-using and disposing - pursue additional educational and incentive programs for re-usable products; purchase and use more recycled products; make recycling more convenient across the campus; enhance and increase the educational programs on recycling and re-using.
- Energy, heating, lighting and ventilation systems - develop an awareness campaign to inform users of energy usage, create residential energy conservation programs with student leaders; plan a communications campaign to inform the campus about the annual cost of energy use.
- Water use and conservation - develop an awareness campaign about water usage; create residential water conservation plans with student leaders; distribute the cost of water usage annually; and pursue latest water conservation technologies.
- Environmental health and safety - reduce the overall amount of hazardous and non-hazardous waste; undertake toxic use reduction and pollution prevention planning; develop a chemical inventory tracking system; evaluate materials used for building renovations; replace and recycle equipment and technologies as they become outmoded/unsafe; explore new concepts for reducing and reusing hazardous materials.
- Food management - work more closely with food suppliers to reduce packaging waste; participate more actively in programs to contribute excess food to the homeless and needy; continue work on the composting project; improve food service recycling efforts; be proactive about environmental concerns that might emerge in the future.
- Transportation efficiency - - re-focus transportation efficiency efforts to emphasize energy conservation; begin discussions of short and long-term strategies related to commuting and parking alternatives; pursue incremental changes in commuting, parking, and alternative transportation programs.
- Alterative energy sources - continue to monitor developments related to alternative energy sources for the future, although there are no economically feasible sources now.
- Land conservation management - create a geographic information system to better analyze land resources; compile full resource inventories of College land; develop long-term management plans for all College properties.
- Facilities planning - continue to update the new construction energy standards; include a member of the Energy Council in facilities projects; begin to think broadly about the trade-offs between environmental standards and building standards.
- Publications - convene a working group of faculty, students, and administrators to examine how we might minimize the waste that results from the distribution of College publications and mailings.
- Computing - assess energy use implications of computers and work to stem printing waste through Public Print Window awareness efforts and through effective use of our campus e-mail system.
Maintain and enhance a strong academic program in Environmental Science; encourage other curricular offerings and new interdisciplinary efforts in the study of the environment; strive to continually elevate environmental consciousness on campus through educational programs for students and employees.
The work of the Committee also was informed by the work of the students in the Environmental Studies 50 course in the spring of 1994 and specifically by their report, "Sustainability at Dartmouth: Analysis of and Recommendations for Change on Campus," as well as by the work of the Dartmouth Environmental Network (DEN) in their symposium on sustainability which was held in Hanover in October of 1994. The Committee recommended that the Provost's Office be vested with the responsibility for following up and continually assessing Dartmouth's progress in meeting the standards outlined in these campus-wide environmental policies.