“the starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible.” —norman cousins, journalist, professor, and world peace advocate
Boston College is always looking for ways to strengthen its role as a leader in environmental stewardship. Sustainability factors are considered at every stage of development as the university advances into the twenty-first century. Below are ideas and events in the making.
The Master Plan
Boston College recently filed The Institutional Master Plan Notification Form with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, outlining the schools vision for growth over the next decade. Chapter 10 of this form presents an overview of the sustainable principles and design goals that have guided development of BC’s long-term planning, as well as reports on the University’s current on-campus sustainable practices. For more information, visit the Institutional Master Plan’s web site.
Do you think Boston College should incorporate more sustainable requirements into the Master Plan? Sign the petition to voice your opinion.
Find out more about the Master Plan by reading the following articles:
- The Boston Globe, Dec. 5, 2007 — Grand Expansion at BC
- The Boston Herald: Dec. 5, 2007 — Eagles Let Fly $1.6B Plan
- USA Today, Dec. 5, 2007 — Boston College Makes Plans for Church Land
- WBUR (NPR): Dec. 5, 2007 — BC Expansion Plan
- South Coast Today, Dec. 5, 2007 — Boston College Unveils 10-year Plan, $1.6B Expansion Plan
- Bloomberg, Dec. 5, 2007 — Boston College Embarks on $1.6 Billion Growth Plan
- The New York Times, Dec. 5, 2007 — Massachusetts: College Expansion
- The Heights, Dec. 3, 2007 — BC Unveils $1.6 Billion Strategic Plan
- Boston Business Journal, Dec. 5, 2007 — Boston College Plans $1.6B Expansion
Additionally, in 2006, the City of Boston passed legislation on sustainability-related issues for construction of any new buildings 50,000 square feet or larger, which impacts the Master Plan. Article 37 details the specifics of this legislation. BlueWave Capital, LLC answers some frequently asked questions about Article 37.
Interested in learning more about Boston’s sustainability requirements for new buildings?
A long-term plan for energy generation is under investigation at Boston College. Projects being considered are combined heat and power plants and the use of solar power from rooftop sources. BC is also looking into the potential of geothermal power and the conversion of dining hall waste into diesel fuel.
As for reducing energy used in transportation, hybrid vehicles save on fuel, and one has recently replaced the Environmental Health & Safety van.
Students are always seeking new ways to increase campus awareness and promote active participation in sustainability efforts. Showing of environmental documentaries are being planned, and a “Bulb Brigade” designed to increase the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs is in the works. See our Student Initiatives page for additional information.
Boston College is planning to implement the practices and ideology of xeriscaping into its ground efforts in the form of natural landscaping. This process is designed to utilize more native plant specifies and other gardening techniques to reduce the use of water while still creating a lush garden. Also, a sustainable organic garden is currently being planned for the yard behind the Connolly House on Hammond Street. See our Nature page for further reading.
The University is also contemplating a campus-wide tree inventory. Trained employees, in conjunction with the Urban Ecology Institute, would take measurements and collect other data to assess tree health. This effort would complement the calculation of the school’s carbon footprint by monetizing and computing tree carbon sequestration from BC’s campuses.
Expansion of Current Efforts
Although many initiatives have already been enacted to encourage sustainability throughout campus, they could always use an update to further Boston College’s environmental mission:
- The bookstore currently supplies compact fluorescent light bulbs, yet a wider range of sustainable and energy efficient products are needed.
- As seen in our Academics & Research section, BC has a number of programs and research projects underway that support and promote sustainability. More courses are needed to increase awareness and potentially influence behavior. Nursing students could study the effects of pollution and greenhouse gases on health. Students in the Carroll School of Management could study the impact of energy prices on corporate profits, while the Chemistry Department could study the potential of converting frying oil to biodiesel fuel…just to name a few of the subjects under consideration.
- BC Dining initiated a Fall farmer's market in 2008. The program was a success, and projects are being designed to further incorporate the use of local produce to support small farmers within the dining halls.