By Gabe Linderman, Transcript Correspondent
Ohio Wesleyan has been trying to stay on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability for a long time, but as a whole, the school often falls short.
John Krygier illustrated the school’s efforts, and lack thereof in a lecture delivered April 21 to a small group of students.
Krygier is a professor of geography and geology and also serves as the director of the environmental studies program, making him qualified to offer commentary and critique on OWU’s effort to be more green.
There is no dedicated sustainability coordinator at OWU, there are no courses offered that focus specifically on sustainability (although, that is changing next semester) and there is no devoted budget for sustainability, Krygier said.
All of the money that goes toward different sustainability initiatives on campus comes from various campus organizations including WCSA and Chartwells Dining Services.
The lack of funding and dedicated faculty isn’t all bad. It forces efforts to be community based and grassroots organized, encouraging more diversity in ideas and leadership, Krygier said.
Even considering those silver linings, Krygier made it clear that he would like to see more direct more efforts from the administration, especially with respect to recycling programs.
Junior Izzy Sommerdorf said, “The school doesn’t make it easy to pursue sustainability efforts, but that’s something we have been working on.”
Sommerdorf, a student of Krygier’s works on the Sustainability Task Force, is one among a group of students and faculty who works directly with the school to support environmental initiatives.
Krygier also pointed out that individual environmental based projects, despite offering valuable personal learning experiences, do little to help the overall mission because they are difficult to maintain over a long term.
“It takes time to complete successful projects, more than a semester, more than a year,” Krygier said, noting how difficult it can be to continue projects after the founding student or students have graduated.”
“At OWU, there is a persistent enthusiasm for sustainability, but it’s hard to make things actually happen. There are lots of new projects started, but few are ever finished,” Krygier said.
Krygier ended by encouraging students not to get discouraged and to keep acting within collaborations with each other to affect change on a broad level.