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Studying Sustainability

Written by Conor Harrington
9/28/2010

Junior Sophia Johnson, a Dining Services sustainability intern, hands out rewards cards to students who demonstrate sustainable behavior.

Sustainability. Composting. Recycling. These environmental buzzwords are all a part of the Ithaca College vernacular.

This green lifestyle can be intimidating, but fear not -- because Ithaca College has programs to ease first-year students into the complex world of sustainability.

Paula Turkon describes her class, Sustainability Principles and Practice, as “a class that examines not only environmental, but social, ecological, and political issues that deal with sustainability.”

The popular class, which has been full for the past three semesters, includes group projects, notable guest speakers, and many “green” activities.

Professor Turkon urges students from any major to take her class because college students are the future.

“I think people become isolated in their little corners of the world and are not completely aware of the problems that arise in our environment,” she said.

Sophomore Integrated Marketing Communications major Rachel Heiss said Professor Turkon’s class was perfect for her because she was not familiar with many environmental behaviors.

“I think it’s important that people realize that just a small step in sustainability can really make an impact,” Heiss said.

Mark Darling, Sustainability Coordinator for Ithaca College, said integrating sustainability and academics is a necessity.

“It’s a little harsh to say, but sustainability is really survivability,” he said.

In addition to academics, Ithaca College has also made sustainable strides in the residence halls. Every room is equipped with both a blue and a green recyclable bin so students can quickly and easily separate papers and plastics themselves.

Also, Ithaca Dining Services has colorful signs at all retail locations instructing students which items go into each bin. 

Darling said Ithaca College has been a leader in sustainability practices, but still “has a long way to go.”

The trite adage “going green” no longer applies to Ithaca College. According to Darling, Ithaca College has gone green and has no plans to turn back.



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