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The highlight of SRJC’s Earth Day celebration on April 20, 2011, outside the Bertolini Student Center on the Santa Rosa Campus was the signing of the Talloires Declaration by President Agrella. The declaration is a comprehensive, internationally accredited plan that provides educational institutions with a framework for achieving a sustainable future. The declaration was drafted in 1990 in Talloires, France by an international group of university presidents, outlining the role that higher education administrators, faculty, staff, and students can play in helping tackle urgent environmental concerns.
During the ceremonial signing, several speakers gave brief presentations about the meaning of the Talloires Declaration (pronounced Tal-Whar) for SRJC, including: student Jessica Jones; Earth and Space Sciences Instructor Katie Gerber; Dean of Arts, Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences Tyra Benoit, and Dean of Facilities Planning and Operations Tony Ichsan. By signing the declaration, President Agrella and SRJC agree to take actions that address “the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources.” The signing brings SRJC into a select group of more than 300 colleges and universities worldwide that have pledged to support environmental sustainability and advance global environmental awareness.
Photo caption left to right: Dean Ty Benoit, President Robert Agrella, Instructor Katie Gerber, student Jessica Jones.
On Friday, April 1, 2011, SRJC’s Interior Design Program presented a “Green Design: Empowering the Future” conference from 9:00 AM. to 3:45 PM. on the Santa Rosa Campus. The conference focused on green design, which according to the conference keynote speaker and architect Carol Venolia, “requires a fresh, integrated approach rooted in an understanding of living systems.” Experts attended the conference from a variety of ‘green’ fields and organizations, among them:
The enthusiastic participants learned how design can restore vital connections between the natural elements - sun, air, water and land - and explored a range of interesting green topics. Sessions included the following topics:
The SRJC community recycles approximately 75 percent of its waste, which is well above state-mandated levels. This translates annually to the college recycling 140 tons of paper and cardboard, 50 tons a year of scrap metal and 15 tons of old wood, a notable effort by SRJC’s student, faculty and staff Green Team! Because of the college’s effective commitment to conservation and recycling, the state refers to SRJC as a green model to other community colleges and organizations.
Reflecting this dedication on March 8, 2011, SRJC students conducted a waste audit of the garbage they recycled. A team of active students sorted through 165 pounds of cafeteria waste on the SR Campus, and while none could ignore the pungent potpourri wafting up from the trash from a mix of coffee, onions, cheese and burgers, not one student flinched as they separated the contents of the dumpsters because they were so focused on answering the question, ‘how much of the college’s cafeteria waste isn’t really trash at all?’ After an hour of sifting and weighing, they concluded that very little of the trash is trash at all. The team - all from the Students for Sustainable Communities Club, found that 88 percent of the cafeteria trash could be recycled or turned into valuable compost for use across the campus. Jacob Paradise, SRJC’s student Sustainability Coordinator, said the club intended to use the waste audit to lobby for a college composting program at the Shone Farm to help reduce SRJC’s impact on the environment. Enrolled students would help run the program as credit for Environmental Studies and other science classes.
Photo caption - Jacob Paradise of the Students for Sustainable Communities Club, left, and Robert Ethington, Director of Student Affairs and Club Advisor, sort through cafeteria waste behind the Bertolini Student Center cafeteria.