Over the past few years, Andover has taken steps towards becoming more sustainable. Last year, Fuess House reduced its energy consumption by 36 percent through its new motion-based LED lighting. Storm windows and better insulation were installed in Bishop Hall during its renovation to save energy with heating during the winter. The new Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center will even feature a green roof and geothermal heating.
Despite these advances, Andover still needs to step up when it comes to sustainability. A sense of apathy pervades campus, coupled with a lack of greater administrative commitment to sustainability. In order to make real progress towards being sustainable, we need to see improvement from both the individual and the administrative levels.
Andover’s peer schools are already leading the charge, far outpacing our attempts thus far. Hotchkiss’s on-campus biomass plant, which has a green roof, allows it to save more than $522,000 per year and cuts the school’s energy consumption by 62 percent. Hotchkiss also has an on-campus farm, reducing the carbon emissions created through food transport. Phillips Exeter Academy has stopped selling bottled water on campus altogether and has instead installed filtered-water filling stations to encourage students to use reusable water bottles.
We need green infrastructures and policies. Solar panels, wind turbines and green roofs on lawns and academic buildings can allow the school to reduce its energy consumption and costs.
Administrational and structural changes, however, are only part of the solution. It is our responsibility to overcome the apathy towards environmental issues on campus.
Individual efforts as seemingly insignificant as bringing a Greener Blue mug back to Paresky Commons, using a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water and separating trash and recycling can have a huge collective impact.
Instead of dwelling on the small, immediate inconveniences caused by sustainability efforts, we should see them as our obligations to the future of our environment. Sustainability can no longer remain a theory. It is a concept that must be put into daily practice.
A short-term investment in a more sustainable future will result in better long-term solutions. Sustainability is something that Andover must focus on, especially as the school proceeds with the Strategic Planning process. “Non Sibi” extends beyond serving people—Andover also has a responsibility to serve and care for the environment as well.
_This editorial represents the views of_ The Phillipian _Editorial Board CXXXVI._