By Edwin Rodriguez
The facilities of Rutgers-Newark show the long history of our academic institution. Many buildings such as Conklin Hall have a rich tradition of being the center of struggles for racial justice and hotbeds of student activism on our campus. Other newer buildings such as the Law Library and One Washington Park show our campus’ evolution into a national education research facility. While some older facilities have gotten a face-lift over the years; there are others such as Hill, Smith and Dana Library that are out-of-date and are in drastic need of updating. It is important for students to ask, How are the outdated facilities of Rutgers-Newark contributing to the destruction of our environment?
To start, the restrooms in both Hill and Smith Hall are outdated. The sinks are constantly dripping water, which not only costs the University money but also contributes to the waste of water. The toilets are functional but are older models. Updated versions of these objects are available that allow for the use of less water, save the University money, and will contribute less to the destruction of the planet. These improvements are simple, comprehensive solutions that will benefit the environment, save money and improve that overall feel of spaces that students frequently use.
Another simple fix would be replacing our water fountains with new ‘Hydration Stations.’ These hydration stations offer clean, filtered water with a separate spout for students to fill their water bottles. This would help promote students bringing reusable water bottles to campus instead of buying expensive bottles of water. According to Thomas Bosque from Stay Hydrated magazine, the United States consumes over 50 billion half liter bottles of drinking water each year. Almost all of those bottles end up in landfills. Each year it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of bottle water the United States drinks.
Another issue on our campus is recycling. Despite the multiple trashcans labeled for recycling does the entire trash end up in the proper containers? Does the maintenance staff place all the bags in the proper containers or does it all end up in the same dumpster? Having been an on-campus student for three years, my previous employment in the Physical Plant and Dana, and my current employment in Newark Computing Services, I have never seen maintenance staff collecting trash keeping the bags separate.
Students, faculty, maintenance staff, and administration need to take the initiative to update our facilities, make an active effort to recycle, and push for more progress on our campus. All of the recommendations listed are simple, commonsense solutions to our University’s environmental concerns.
Contact the Chancellor’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for changes listed above!