College plans initiatives to help campus become more green

By Liritze Pedroza-Ortiz, Staff Writer

Every second, 1,500 plastic water bottles are consumed in the United States.

This is just one of the problems the college is addressing on its way to becoming a greener campus.

Terrance Wickman, math professor and adviser of the Green Team, discussed Eastfield’s current and future green projects for this semester during a Green Team meeting on Oct. 16.

The Green Team plans to install 16 water bottle-filling stations. One of the stations on the second floor of C building has already logged more than 9,000 plastic bottles saved on its counter.

“An important thing for students to know is that they can reuse plastic bottles and not just throw them away,” Wickman said. “People say ‘Well I recycled it.’ Let’s try to reuse the bottles and not get to the point that they need to be recycled.”

Another current project Wickman mentioned during the meeting is attaching smart heads to sprinklers, which reduces the amount of water runoff.

During the meeting, Wickman also mentioned a proposed project to raise funds to buy a $2 million thermal heating and cooling system tank.

The thermal heating system uses stored water for heating and cooling buildings. Wickman said the system is valuable for many reasons, including saving water, energy and time.

Eastfield also celebrates green holidays such as Arbor Day, which will be celebrated on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. in front of the C building.

During the ceremony a magnolia tree will be planted near the flag poles in the front of the C building. There will also be performances by the honor guard, the college’s choir and the jazz ensemble, Wickman said. The college plans to plant more magnolia trees in the future.

The event is open to everyone.

During the Green Team meeting, academic adviser Sheneika Hathaway announced that Eastfield’s green future is expanding with a new Harvesters Community Garden project.

Hathaway, a Community Garden advisory committee member, said the club will start with four land plots which will increase on an as-needed basis. Each of the four plots could be up to 8-feet-long by 8-feet-wide and will be located between T and W buildings. Each plot will be used for different purposes.

“We want to have a butterfly garden, along with a herb garden, and we’ve been working with the science department on possibly incorporating an outdoor classroom, and possibly partnering with MISD,” she said.

Laura Carr, a speech professor and garden advisory committee member, said the organization hopes to have the announcement and applications for adopt-a-plot out around Thanksgiving.

Although the organization has not begun yet, it is being encouraged.

“Dr. Conway is very supportive of the whole thing,” Carr said. “[Facilities Director] Michael Brantley says that anything he can do to make it succeed, he is game. There is a lot of support.”

Brantley said the college ranked 18 out of 168 colleges and universities in this year’s Recycle Mania competition.

From the amount of containers, their size, and the number of pickups per week, he estimates the college will recycle more than 1 million pounds of material by the end of 2013. The recycled materials include paper, aluminum cans, ink cartridges, books, newspapers, plastic bottles, trash-scrap metal and cardboard.

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