The first step of our Commitment will be a kickoff event to be held on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2010. The goal is to educate students, faculty, and staff about Barry's current sustainability efforts. In addition to various departments having booths showcasing their sustainability efforts, there will be a university-wide recycling and reuse sale (Barry's 'Eco-Depot') to exchange, donate, and properly dispose of unwanted furniture and office wares.
The second step of the Commitment is to launch and develop a B.E.S.T. webpage, the focus of which is to share best practices and tips related to sensible, achievable environmental practices, and the inclusion of facts and statistics concerning what is currently happening throughout the University. The webpage will include the following five categories: Transportation Alternatives, Waste Management, Food Management, Energy Management, and Environmental Awareness.
The overarching dimension of the Commitment is an emphasis on education and hands on learning. Through the Earth Day event and the web based platform, we intend to exchange sound sustainability resources and document what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We intend to accomplish this Commitment by Earth Day 2011.
Over ten years ago Barry University developed an 'Environmental Advisory Task Force.' Faculty, staff, and students engaged in sustainability efforts that centered on recycling and reuse programs, waste reduction, program development, and cost savings throughout the main campus. The recycling and reuse efforts included educating the community on environmental and recycling practices, and monitoring statistics such as money earned and saved from recycling efforts. The Task Force was discontinued due to lapses in leadership. Departmental collaboration and a focus on sustainability efforts eroded with time.
In 2008, the University adopted a re-articulated Mission Statement that included four Core Commitments. The University avows that learning leads to knowledge and truth, reflection leads to informed action, and a commitment to social justice leads to collaborative service. Embedded within one of the four commitments is an expectation that all members of the Barry community 'recognize the sacredness of Earth.' This direction has sparked a re-invigorated spirit and the development of new ecological sustainability efforts throughout the University.
In the fall of 2009, University President Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD initiated the creation of a university-wide standing committee to address environmental stresses and to increase sustainability efforts at the University. As a result of widespread and enthusiastic response from faculty, staff, and students, Barry's Ecological Sustainability Team (B.E.S.T.) was formed.
B.E.S.T. quickly determined there were directions and practices that could be developed through collaboration related to University ecological efforts. Sustainability efforts that had been occurring on campus were not collaborative, unified, or known by the community as a whole. Programs such as carpooling, unified recycling through the Facilities Department, waste and food reduction in the dining facilities, and ongoing educational efforts through the 'Center for Earth Jurisprudence' were taking place without university-wide consciousness.
The new energy and dedication of the students, faculty, and staff led to the development of Barry University's 'Commitment to Action.' The following five areas have been identified to categorize sustainability issues: Transportation Alternatives, Waste Management, Food Sustainability, Energy Management, and Environmental Awareness. Through this Commitment, the University believes that increased knowledge of environmental stresses will impel individuals and communities to create responses that will support ecological sustainability now and for future generations. Care and respect for the sacredness of the Earth will provide sustained motivation and transformational action that will address environmental issues through individual and communal learning, reflection, and service.