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Reflecting on the Year in Sustainability

Green Campus Day went off on April 20 and recapped of the year’s sustainability initiatives at UMass Dartmouth while pointing out what lies in the future.

In addition to the presenting of the Green Campus Awards to this year’s recipients, the Sustainability Office, faculty, administration, and colleagues from local/regional organizations spoke about sustainable forestry, agriculture, the various energy projects happening on campus, and how sustainability is incorporated into each respected college.

The biggest highlight of the day was the official introduction and opening of the long-awaited Living Classroom.  People attending engaged in a brisk exploration of the forest through some of the several cleared trails, seeing the results of the ongoing conservation efforts of the Forest Stewardship plan.

Much has been said and repeated of the Living Classroom time and time again, but a proper grand opening makes it all the more real.  This massive ecological resource of forests, wetlands, ponds and wildlife is now readily acknowledged with signage located on Ring Road leading into Cedar Dell Vista, as well as with various markers and signage in the woodlands.

Besides the interactive, academic, recreational, and research prospects the land holds, this key focal point to the natural surroundings of the university promises to attract much attention from the local and regional communities.  Students will soon be able to find official pamphlets for the Living Classroom all over campus.

As often reiterated, projects like the Living Classroom cannot be successful without the students, and their efforts provide all sorts of academic and resume-building opportunities.  Green Campus Day was also an open forum and was inhabited with many enthusiastic participants sharing ideas.

A student came up with a project to create a circular labyrinth and Zen garden in the university arboretum for meditation purposes.  Other students and faculty expressed desire to work on a campus bike sharing program, statistics gathering for the Charlton College of Business, further trail clearing, and expansion of the green roof that is currently located on top of the covered walkway between Foster and the Campus Center Buildings.

As the school year draws to a close, the continued success and expansion of Green Campus Day and the university’s sustainability initiatives yield a strong conclusion: the ideas and opportunities are there, and as sustainability efforts becomes more popular and ambitious at UMass Dartmouth, it will become further ingrained in each person’s everyday mindset.

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