Red = Green: Sustainability at Fairfield University, a new website is launched



At Fairfield University, it's easy being green.

Image: GreenThe Jesuit institution just debuted a new website, "Red = Green: Sustainability at Fairfield" (http://fairfield.edu/green), chronicling the university's growing sustainability movement that has touched all corners of campus. The site is a presentation of the university's Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) and Web Communications.

"What is most remarkable about Fairfield's sustainability movement is that it is campus-wide," said David Frassinelli, associate vice president of Facilities Management and CSC chair. "Environmentally conscious projects have been implemented by all walks of life on campus, including the administration, students, faculty and staff members. It seems everyone is on the same page."

No longer "From Red to Green" - the previous name for the University's green movement - Fairfield is now an all-green institution, as indicated by being listed in Princeton Review's 2010 "Guide to 286 Green Colleges," and being labeled a Sierra Club Cool School two years running. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored the university with a 2010 Energy Star CHP Award for its energy smart combined heat and power plant. The green movement was kick started several years ago. If you ask campus administrators why, many bring up Dr. Dina Franceschi, associate professor of economics. Creative and determined, she led a push for a more coordinated effort, observed CSC member James Fitzpatrick, assistant vice president of student affairs. "It snowballed and continues to grow every day," he said.

The new website provides a snapshot of focus areas, such as 'teaching and research,' 'living and learning,' 'campus sustainability projects,' and avenues to 'get involved.'

Information on the College of Arts & Sciences' growing Program on the Environment, directed by David Downie, Ph.D.; Arts & Minds programming on sustainability issues; and the new Environmental Life Residential College point to how broad and deep the green movement is on Fairfield's campus. Highlights also include faculty/student research collaborations such as the Leon, Nicaragua water project and the campus garden spearheaded by professors Jen Klug and Tod Osier with Dana August, a senior.

Future web features will include links to live dashboards - windows into the heat and electrical usage by campus apartment and 'carbon footprint per bed.' All campus buildings are being either built or retrofitted with energy conserving components.

"The green site is designed to grow alongside Fairfield's green movement," said Lisa Calderone, Web Communications editor. "From academics to student life to campus infrastructure, 'Red = Green: Sustainability at Fairfield' is the online resource for our environmentally-minded constituents."

Fairfield has gone far in the four years since Rev. Jeffrey P. Von Arx, S.J., signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment [ACUPCC] and the CSC Committee was subsequently formed. Fr. von Arx joined 500 other university presidents and chancellors who agreed to harness the influence of their respective institutions to address global warming and achieve climate neutrality for their campuses. It has many results at Fairfield: In fiscal year 2009-10, the university reduced its carbon footprint by 7%.

Born out of the ACUPCC, the CSC, comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, and students, is charged with helping set the university's goals and evaluating its progress with regards to sustainability.

There is another reason for Fairfield's commitment to the environment: As a Jesuit university, it is committed to the belief that all humans have a responsibility for all creation. Franceschi said, noting responsible living is very much in line with the Jesuit ideals, "It's learning to be good stewards of the earth."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 18, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 209