SUSTAINABILITY BOARD GATHERS IDEAS, DATA, NEW ACQUAINTANCES AT GEORGIA COLLEGES CONFERENCE

Photo of  partial listing of sustainability activities, presented by Michael Chang of Ga. Tech, seemed intimidatingly large.
This partial listing of sustainability activities, presented by Michael Chang of Ga. Tech, seemed intimidatingly large.

Have you ever considered getting an electric car, but 
thought they’re too expensive?  According 
to Hannah Solar Corporation, if you use the tax credit, a lease for a Nissan 
Leaf can be had for as little as $75 per month. 
This was just one bit of information among many gathered by a Brenau group 
who attended the statewide conference of the Georgia College Sustainability 
Network, held in Macon on Sept. 20. 
“The round table session helped open my eyes on what needs to happen 
before a campus can claim a ‘sustainability’ effort at any level of earnestness”, 
said Robert Cuttino.  Together with Rudi Kiefer, who serves on the Steering Committee of GCSN, and Karen 
Henman, he participated in the sessions that included topics as diverse as 
curriculum-building, water conservation on campus, promoting sustainability 
efforts among students, and a round-table discussion about what’s happening at
the various public and private colleges in Georgia.  The variety of themes was also apparent among 
the presenters, ranging from students attending Georgia College & State 
University and Emory University to faculty from UGA, Emory, GCSU, and Georgia 
Southern, as well as industry representatives.

“The presentation about Zero Waste Events at Emory has got 
me interested in investigating how to institute Zero Waste Events on our campus,
and developing greater buy-in to sustainability”, said Henman. As the three members of Brenau’s 
Sustainability Advisory & Action Board (SAAB) attended different concurrent 
session, a whole list of projects and priorities evolved, including more 
recycling efforts, studying the tree canopy on campus, energy efficiency and 
more, which Henman put to paper and summarized for the committee.  A busy agenda for the SAAB seems assured.

“It was great to meet the people in person that I’ve been
teleconferencing with during the summer as we were building the conference
agenda in the steering committee,” Kiefer said. 
“Eriqah Foreman Williams of the National Wildlife Federation, who
oversees the GCSN activities, was already on my ‘old friends’ list because she
did such a marvelous job with the Farm-to-Table Conference in Statesboro last
spring.  And as a UGA graduate, I was
delighted to exchange views with the people from Athens, and learn what they
are doing on the state’s flagship campus over there.” 

Henman’s suggestions about a tree inventory and the campus 
canopy are certain to be followed up in the SAAB, together with other 
vegetation-related projects that are on the burner this year.  A first step is a guest lecture by Joan 
Maloof, author of “Teaching the Trees” and “Among the Ancients”, scheduled for 
Wednesday, Oct.9 at 5 p.m. in Thurmond McRae Auditorium (still being 
finalized).  More rounds of weeds removal 
and clean-up are also slated in the Bamboo Forest area of the Bioscience Field 
Station.  With a design being prepared by 
Teri Nye, and plant selections by Jessi Shrout (both of the Science Dept.), a 
new teaching and research venue is emerging in the back of the Brenau Campus.

“Jessi and Teri had class responsibilities, so unfortunately 
they couldn’t come along to the Macon conference,” Kiefer said.   “But the three of us – Karen, Robert and 
myself – brought back so many notes and ideas that we can stay busy for the 
entire academic year.  The key to it all,
agreed to by every participant, is student involvement in these projects.  Just like last year, it’ll be a priority at 
Brenau.”