Letters to the editor


Hire sustainability leadership

A week ago I read an article directed at a concern that has been buzzing around my head since early last December. Last December I met Missy Orr.

Orr, the Assistant Director of the office of Sustainability, is joining the Peace Corps. This means she — the organizing force behind many things sustainable on campus — will not be here next year. Her paid position as the Assistant Director of Sustainability will disappear…that is, unless the student body decides they would like to do something about it.

As a first-year, I have only just gotten my toes wet in the vast depths of the sustainability efforts here at DePauw. But so far, I have seen a united front of students who want to do something to help the environment. And it appears that students only get more and more involved in our sustainability front as they progress through their four years here. I saw a brief hint of this in the Letter to the Editor section on Friday. Clearly, students have something to say on the issue.

 I am now writing to propose that we continue to fight to keep the position that Orr created. I am writing to ask the DePauw University community to strive to work to keep the many projects that have been started here, to acknowledge the LEED certified buildings we are lucky enough to have, to keep the water bottle ban in action, and to win Campus Conservation Nationals again next year.

Let's work to keep and expand these things around our campus, DePauw.

— Allison Orjala, freshman

 Fund sustainability position

Stephen Hesterberg's article on Tuesday highlighted DePauw's commitment to climate neutrality, a commitment that will be compromised without long-term sustainability staffing support. I agree entirely that, as a signatory of the Presidents' Climate Commitment, the university has a moral obligation to fulfill when it comes to sustainability.  

The main issue with Stephen's solution – hiring a long-term Assistant Director for Sustainability – is funding. In a time of economic instability, DePauw must make especially careful decisions about how its funds are invested and distributed.  

The university has to be financially practical right now. Hiring a sustainability staff member will add another salary to the payroll, but will also ensure the continuation of Energy Wars, the implementation of the Climate Action Plan, and the success of other programming that saves money for DePauw. We need an Assistant Director to coordinate the students who get involved in these projects.   

Our work in the environmental arena has earned DePauw national recognition, drawing the attention of prospective students. It has saved thousands of dollars through decreased water and electricity usage. It has brought together students from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal. 

It's plain and simple: sustainability is an investment with huge payoffs for the university, for the environment, and for students; it's an investment that needs to happen.

— Kate Wright, senior