School’s environmental changes a step in the right direction

With the completion of the new Clinical Research Institute (CRI) at Jackson Memorial and plans for more environmentally-friendly buildings, the university continues to implement changes geared towards becoming “green.” The new CRI is not only designed to be energy-efficient, but is also constructed from recycled material. On campus, new completely-electric security carts were unveiled, to go along with existing recycling facilities and waterless toilets.

The changes implemented are a step in the right direction. While the university is not the first to “go green,” nor is it the greenest, the changes are a good start, and indicative of how future green initiatives can, and should, be implemented. They also set a good example, as UM is at the forefront of environmentally-friendly practices in South Florida, which is not what one would consider an Earth-friendly community.

But now that the university has taken the first steps, it must continue its commitment long after the current programs are fulfilled. Events like these recent inaugurations make for great publicity and give the school a good image boost. But neither the university nor the public should be lulled into complacency after these advances. It’s easy to delude ourselves by thinking we’re doing enough for the environment – we’re not. We’ve only just begun, and green changes seem to lag behind other university projects, such as new construction on the Gables campus and expanded shuttle routes. On that note, new shuttles purchased last year should have been outfitted to use cleaner burning natural gas as fuel, something Europe has been doing for years.

But looking at the university’s track record of making a greener campus, it does not seem like commitment will be a problem. The changes will not only benefit the environment, but also enhance the university community tremendously.