Editorial: Taking the ‘LEED’ on green future

Sometimes there is no way to look but up. While you’re doing that, take in some of the crisp, cold air, the coldest of the season thus far, and realize that Rider is set to construct a green, sustainable future. Sure, it may be tempting to stick our heads in the sand and hope that the damage humans are doing to the environment will miraculously fix itself. But the administration hasn’t done that — Rider is finally following in
the footsteps of other colleges and universities.

The plan to build a new LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residence hall would not mean just another building that lines the Lawrenceville campus and is easy on the eyes. It would mean a reduction in our impact on the environment. It’s too bad for the juniors and seniors who will not have the opportunity to live in the “green” residence hall. But, we will all be around long enough to see the groundbreaking that is slated for next semester.

Although some of the students who were here the last time Rider was under construction may be cringing at the thought of waking to the sounds of jackhammers and workers outside their windows, let’s wake up and the smell the ozone. Rider has been lagging behind other institutions. When it comes to informing the community, other colleges and universities have portions of their Web sites dedicated to sustainability efforts. The best tool to tackling any issue is knowledge, and many of us are still in the dark.

As green as the residence hall may be, it will also bring smiles to students enjoying the “suite” lifestyle. Gentlemen, try and contain your excitement about the waterless urinals. The building will also have other items geared toward sustainability. However, a new building decked out with nice amenities won’t solve the other issues Rider needs to consider confronting. The current way Rider heats and cools its buildings is inefficient when compared to Princeton University, which has one central heating and cooling plant for all buildings. In fact, Princeton generates its own electricity by burning natural gas, which results in the creation of the steam used in the heating process; Rider has units in each building for heating.

Still, other problems persist. Recycling needs to be taken more seriously if it is going to have any impact. The recent letters to the editor from two professors about ways to reduce carbon emissions and control population are at least highlighting issues central to our future. It’s a message that students need to heed. Rider is not alone in confronting environmental issues, and it’s a challenge our generation will have to meet as leaders.

The price tag will no doubt raise some eyebrows and perhaps fuel skepticism as to why Rider is pursuing such a course of action at this time. Rider was issued a $22 million bond to fund construction projects through 2009. However, residence halls tend to pay for themselves quickly. And it is money well spent that will pay interest to future generations of Rider students and its surrounding environment.

For now, let’s put aside the worries over parking and crowding in Daly’s that will inevitably arise. Although Rider has fallen on some tough days as of late, the University has constructed a blueprint that will hopefully foster some brighter and more environmentally-friendly days.

Written By Opinion Editor, Jamie Papapetros

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