When it comes to on-campus environmentally friendly initiatives, people generally think of major projects such as huge solar panels. While Gannon might not have those major visual projects, there are many smaller projects.
Environmental science professor Dr. Homan said that there are three categories of environmental initiatives on campus: education initiatives, administration initiatives and equipment energy conservation initiatives.
Many of the education initiatives revolve around classes that focus on the environment and sustainability. One of these courses is Environmental Issues, which is designed for non-science majors. Homan said, “It is important to educate non-science majors about the importance of environmental sustainability.”
Many of the science courses with environmental components have the opportunity to travel. In the Climate Change course, students learn about local sustainability and economic issues related to climate change and then travel to Iceland later that year.
Last year, biology professor Dr. Ropski led a travel course to Australia where students studied sustainability issues.
Ropski’s Environmental Issues class has many “field trips” to learn about local environmental issues. Ropski said his Honors Environmental Issues class this semester toured the Erie Zoo to hear about issues related to managing zoo animals. Additionally, the class also toured The Whole Foods Co-op to hear about non-GMO foods and visited a local Sons of Lake Erie fish hatchery to discuss non native fish in Lake Erie. Later this semester, the students in Ropski’s environmental issue’s class will visit with the people who work for Metz to hear about fair trade foods at Gannon’s cafeteria.
In addition to classes, there are many environmental friendly initiatives going on that count towards service learning. One of these projects is the Gannon Goodwill Garden. With the Gannon Goodwill Garden, students grow vegetables which can be donated to local food banks.
In addition to the Gannon Goodwill Garden, there are many other ways students can help the environment while earning service hours. Ropski said that he recommends students become part of green projects through whatever organization they are part of whether it is honors or environmental club.
While there are many education initiatives, there are still administration initiatives which encourage environmental-friendliness.
There is a master sustainability plan to keep Gannon eco-friendly. Homan says that the plan is still in draft form, but there is work on putting a sustainability plan for campus with support of administration. It is still yet to be approved.
Homan said that Gary Garnic is responsible for maintenance of buildings and is involved in a list of things to save energy or water or green the campus in some way. An example of an environmental strategy is using “green” cleaning chemicals instead of harsh ones to mop the floor.
There is also a sustainability committee that is always looking for student involvement. Dr. Homan encourages any student who wishes to participate in the on campus environmental initiatives contact her, Dr. Ropski or Laura Goble.
While it may seem unnoticeable, there are many environmental initiatives happening on Gannon’s campus. “A lot of small things are being done,” said Homan, “Not as cool or visual as a solar panel but quite a few. We still have a lot more to do.“