Monday Moments with President Bergman: September 16, 2019

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on September 16th, 2019 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

This year, one of our important initiatives is moving forward our collective work on environmental sustainability. Last spring, we announced two bold goals at Gustavus:

  1. Reduce campus energy use by 25 percent over the next five years
  2. Work toward becoming a zero-waste institution, diverting 90 percent of solid waste away from landfills and incineration and ensuring for the responsible disposal of the remainder
Environmental sustainability takes individual effort, but it is ultimately a team sport. By working together, I am confident that we will accomplish these goals. As a symbol of our shared commitment in this important area, all employees will receive a refillable metal water bottle within the next week. Please use it! We have installed a number of refillable water stations around campus so that you will be able to easily refill your water bottle throughout the day.
According to the Earth Day Network, Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S.! That means by using a reusable water bottle, each of us could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually. Only about 23 percent of plastic bottles are recycled, which means that the majority end up in landfills or incinerators.
Imagine a Gustavus where everyone uses a refillable water container, every day, all the time. That would be a remarkably positive statement about our commitment to environmental sustainability.
Do you have ideas about how we can take action to reduce energy usage at Gustavus or work toward becoming a zero-waste institution? I would like to hear your thoughts. Please send them to the President’s Environmental Sustainability Council at I look forward to continuing this important conversation as we move forward together.
Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties.
With respect,
P.S.  First things first: when you get your water bottle, find a permanent marker and write your name on it.There will be 600+ identical water bottles floating around campus!

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