2020 Sustainability Report

To the Fordham Community,

The Sustainability Committee had another successful fall semester, and I am thrilled to highlight some of our initiatives this semester. For updates and more information on initiatives, visit our Instagram (@usgsustainability) and page at usgrh.fordham.edu.

         We capped off the fall with a total of fifty members of the Sustainability Committee, the largest committee we have had during my term. All of our meetings were exclusively held on Zoom, and our committee members tuned in from all over the world. We will continue to meet on Zoom through the spring. We had ten subcommittees this semester: landscaping, Fordham Flea, communications, 100% renewable energy, Herbicide Free Campus, Residential Life, Sustainability Week, Eco-Reps, Recycling, and Dining. We will vote on subcommittees for the spring once new applications are reviewed and classes start.

         Our sustainable landscaping subcommittee is led by Anthony Kraus and Amelia Medved. Since the spring 2020 semester, we have been developing a plan to convert the paver space behind Finlay Hall into a garden space. Amelia has compiled a list of native plants that would thrive in the space, taking into account shade, hours of sunlight by season, and the climate. With the help of architecture Professor Mark Gordon, we have finalized the design proposal of “Finlay Garden”. Given the nature of the fall semester, however, the grounds department has delayed our proposal. We hope to present it early in the Spring 2021 semester and share our hard work with the Fordham community.

         Perhaps the most widely known initiative of the Sustainability Committee is Fordham Flea and online Fordham Flea, our pop-up thrift shops and online selling platform for students. We elected to not hold in-person events this semester to avoid crowding, so we did not hold any Fordham Flea pop-up shops this semester; whether we hold a pop-up shop next semester or not will be determined by the committee at the start of the spring semester and reevaluated periodically. Lauren Cassot acted as our liaison for Fordham Flea this semester, and she ran the @fordham.flea Instagram account. We updated the online Fordham Flea platform extensively; online Fordham Flea is now accepting submissions of clothing, household items, tech, and books. Rather than our previous method of submitting items, we have successfully transitioned to using a Google Form that can be found in the Fordham Flea account’s Instagram bio. Fordham Flea will be calling for submissions at the start of spring 2021 semester for used books for classes that have not been accepted for resale by the university bookstore.

         Andrew Falduto led our communications subcommittee, and thanks to Andrew, our Instagram account posts regularly and comments and direct messages are monitored. Our communications subcommittee publicizes all of the work that we do as a committee through stories, highlights, and posts. Communications is responsible for creating the graphics and editing photos. The linktree in the bio connects students to all relevant links posted on the account. In the spring, we will continue to highlight our charity of the month, earth week, and our committee work.

         We have continued our 100% Renewable Energy petition with Environment America, and Molly Gleason has acted as our subcommittee liaison and outside organization liaison. We have obtained the most recent energy reports, submitted to the city, and we continue to review these records extensively. We have confirmed that McGinley 2.0 is designed to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, and we intend to ensure that this plan is followed through. In early spring, QR codes for our 100% Renewable Energy petition will be advertised in all academic and residential life buildings with the hopes of expanding our signature pool.

         Caroline Mahoney has liaised our Herbicide Free Campus campaign with the titled organization; we continue to urge the grounds department of the necessity to convert to being Herbicide Free for students’ health and the health of our ecosystems. Our petition was approved this semester by the senate, and QR codes of the petition will be placed in all academic and residential life buildings at the beginning of the spring semester.

         Our Residential Life subcommittee is led by Olivia Macdonald, an RA in O’hare Hall. Olivia recognized the lack of a sustainability programming requirement for both RA and RHA programming. We are in conversations with residential life of including this as a requirement as early as this spring, and we have also worked with Residential Life in brainstorming a composting proposal for Residence Halls, and we hope to share that with the community and administration in the near future.

         Sustainability Week is typically our main event period in the fall, and Kendall Cascell organized a fully online week of sustainable programming. In collaboration with SEAJ (Students for Environmental Awareness and Justice), St. Rose’s Garden, and Sunrise Fordham, we put on a week of programing, including zoom conversations with faculty on alternative proteins and sustainable fashion, Netflix party documentary screenings, and infographics on composting, sustainable swaps, and upcycling tips. In April, we will organize Earth Week, a similar week of programming.

         Eco-Reps has relaunched for the Spring semester. Josephine Cohen and Molly Gleason have acted as the liaisons, and applications have already been submitted and reviewed for the spring. We have 10 eco-reps and their individual projects will begin in early spring!

Our recycling subcommittee is led by Caitlin Reilly, and we are working to reduce the price of double-sided printing through the Pharos system and increase the amount of recycling bin in academic and residential buildings. This subcommittee continues to be working on these goals for the spring semester.

Our Dining Subcommittee is led by Elizabeth Haywood. In collaboration with the USG Dining Committee, we hope to increase the vegan and vegetarian options available on campus. In early spring of 2021, we will be introducing our vegan options proposal to both the USG Dining Committee and Aramark.

Throughout January, we are working on our composting, vegan options, and library recycling proposals and holding optional meetings for our members. For anyone interested in joining the Sustainability Committee, please contact me at usgsustainability@fordham.edu!

Maggie Tattersfield