College Moving Forward, Going Green
by Fred KrausBarb Stewart glanced at the telephone on her desk. “I just can’t tell you,” she said, looking up, a grim- ace creasing her usually stoic expression. “I just can’t tell you what a nightmare that whole experience has been.” Antioch College’s Vice President of Finance and Administration shook her head as if to clear from her memory the still- ongoing saga of improving the campus telephone service.
Expanding and updating the telephone system at the College is just one portion of the near-superhuman juggling act Barb performs on a regular basis.
Anyone using the telephones at Antioch College over the past few months probably shared Barb’s frustration at some point. Essentially, in order to update the system, the College had to hook up with a telephone exchange outside of Yellow Springs, which had run out of telephone numbers. An initial move to implementing a Fairborn exchange proved unsuitable, so another switch to a Xenia exchange was carried out.
The good news is that Birch Hall, Mills Hall and Spalt Hall have telephones and computer hookups in every room. An enhanced 911 system is also in place and will report the exact location of emergency calls.
Many facility and equipment improvements have been made in 2000-2001 and planning for future improvement continues. The Renovation Task Force has continued its steady progress toward a comprehensive vision of campus renewal and replacement. A recent bond issue is making some of the beginning phases of those projects possible. The bonds were issued to eight schools through the State of Ohio Higher Education Facilities Commission. In addition to Antioch, the other schools included in the bond pool were Defiance College, Hiram College, Lake Erie College, Marietta College, Otterbein College, Wilmington College, and the College of Wooster.
Antioch’s bond projects include:
• acquiring and installing telephone switch equipment to increase the capacity of the campus;
• completing the data and telephone network of the campus, updating computers, labs, facilities and related applications;
• furniture and equipment for residence halls, laboratories and classrooms;
• acquisition of a new tractor and passenger van;
• upgrading campus lighting systems and transformer replacements;
• renovation and improvements of residence halls, classroom and administrative buildings, including air-conditioning, and roofs of certain buildings;
• providing accessibility modifications for several buildings;
• improving campus drives, parking lots, walkways and landscaping;
• providing specialized equipment for science labs, non-linear editing in communications, and equipment in the arts area.
In addition, “Campus planning is proceeding for the renovation of the Library, the Science Building, the Theater building, and the environmental renovation of G. Stanley Hall Hall (making it an environmental center), and the ecological restoration of the ‘golf course,’” said College President Bob Devine ’67. The Renovation Task Force has engaged the entire College community in discussions regarding the needs and priorities of the campus, and the manner in which the campus plan reflects the College’s mission and values. Recent meetings on the G. Stanley Hall Hall and golf course projects have engaged a broad cross-section of the College and the Yellow Springs community in planning for this environmental restoration.
The environmental focus is of particular interest to Barb, since she is Chair of the newly created Green Council – or GreenCil – comprised of students, staff and faculty and admin- istrators. The group met for the first time in September 2000. “It is doing tremendous work in moving the campus toward environmental responsibility,” said Bob, “and is making recommendations on everything from recycling to purchasing.”
GreenCil members are working on short-term and long-term goals for “greening” the campus. “In the long run, the healthy sustainability of the campus is at issue,” said Barb. “We need to find ways to decrease our footprint on the environment.” She noted that the payoff will be in lower costs, which is always a priority.
“Recycling is something we need to get people thinking about all of the time,” said Barb. “It’s a matter of education – paying more attention to what we consume.” Barb noted that the amount of paper the college uses is a constant reminder of lack of conservation. “And the thing is, now that we have computers, we are using more paper than ever. Maybe we need to go back to having scribes in order to conserve,” she said, smiling and shaking her head.
The College isn’t exempt from escalating energy bills, either. “It can be frustrating. We install energy-efficient windows in a building and then you walk by and see the door propped open to the outside.
“How much energy we’re using or wasting and how much we’re paying for it,” is a major concern, she said. “It’s a lot of money going up in smoke. The thing is, it’s going to cost money before we get everyone converted,” she said. “It’s a matter of changing people’s minds about why and how they need to sustain the earth’s resources.”
Barb pointed out that the idea for GreenCil was actually spurred by a student, Alex Stadtner ’00, and the Antioch Environmental Group. The multi-constituency nature of GreenCil has drawn a great deal of favorable attention both within and outside of the College. The collaboration of physical plant workers, students, staff, faculty and administrators in working on campus energy and waste issues is unique enough that members of GreenCil have been selected to present a panel at an upcoming conference on “Greening the Campus” at Ball State University.
As far as additional improvement for the campus, Barb has a substantial list of needs. Key to many of these would be maintenance endowments. “Ideally, we should have endowed funds to maintain the buildings on campus. In addition to having a clear vision for the campus, and a long-term plan to get us there, we need the means to sustain our efforts over time.”
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