Sustainability groups must be on same page

posted in: Opinion | 0

In the Oct. 25 issue, a letter to the editor was run criticizing food services on Pacific’s main campus. Many points in this piece were ill thought through or simply not thought through at all – and the piece as it ran was cut to fit space.
First, I must point out a few facts Cohen overlooked.
Aramark’s options are as local as a large dining services provider can manage and yet still feed the number of people relying on them. The company has received almost all points available for such services through the STARS program, according to John Hayes, the director of the Center for a Sustainable Society.
Next, I must point out something I’ve observed.
It seems like there are two things that students at Pacific love to complain about: Aramark and sustainability.
Over the past four years, I’ve shaken my head at each of these that cross the editor’s desk because they’re closed-minded, single-sided and provide no plausible means of fixing the problem.
And that’s what I think is the heart of the matter. There are no proposed solutions to actually increase the sustainable practices at Pacific. Even the water bottle ban from two years ago was an incomplete movement; it encouraged those on campus to purchase sugary drinks rather than water.
What Pacific needs are motivated, innovative individuals willing to fight for education and changes rather than passively shout their thoughts on issues into the nether space when the notion strikes them. The university needs unity across its environmental conservation efforts.
The Center for a Sustainable Society is a great addition to the university, if it can get its feet underneath it and find the focus necessary to make real changes. As of now, it’s still in an infantile stage with a director and two (soon to be three) work-study students.
The Sustainability Committee has been active for almost 10 years and has managed to encourage small changes across Pacific’s multiple campuses such as increased recycling and expanded waste separation. While it has a number of interested members, it currently lacks a chair.
These groups do work together, but as separate entities collaborating at meetings currently without a concrete schedule. There is little sense of unity here, though, as the members see their groups as “obviously a different sort of thing” from each other, according to Director of Pharmacy Business Operations Tom Andrews.
If these groups have the same goal of making Pacific more environmentally conscious, if they’re united under the blanket term of ‘sustainability,’ shouldn’t they be more fluid, more hand-in-hand, more unified?
How can we hope to be a leader in this movement if we’re all on different pages? Perhaps it’s time to stop working as individuals and start working together.


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