Story posted August 30, 2011
At Sustainable Bowdoin, this summer’s theme was addressing the behavioral aspect of the Climate Neutrality Plan. The Faculty Working Group on Sustainability found that, in order to fulfill this 6% component of the plan, each member of the Bowdoin community must reduce his or her carbon emissions by 500 lbs per year. This manageable reduction goal can be accomplished by making small changes to every-day life. However, the tricky part lies in connecting with students and encouraging them to reconsider their habits.
Three student employees spent the summer addressing this challenge. John Bruno, ’13, Hunter Clark, ’13, and Maggie Williams, ’12, worked on an initiative to educate new and returning students about Bowdoin’s goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2020. Their projects, supported by Sustainable Bowdoin, the Environmental Studies Department, and the Information Technology department, use various forms of media to connect to students.
Hunter and Clark created a website, inspired by carbonrally.com, that encourages students to commit to “carbon challenges” on campus. The interactive site educates students about how many pounds of emissions can be prevented by changing certain habits. Connected to this project, they wrote a survey designed to both gauge incoming students’ attitudes and to steer them toward the new website. Check it out at http://students.bowdoin.edu/2020-carbon-challenge.
Finally, Williams worked on a video demonstrating how, and how not, to behave sustainably on campus. With lots of help from Leah Wang, ’12, Williams created “Leah Goes Green,” a story about a student who transforms from an extreme energy-waster in to a model of environmental awareness. The video focuses on the idea that small changes can make a significant difference, and it uses humor, rather than reproach, as an educational strategy. (Watch "Leah Goes Green")
Though the summer is coming to a close, the students’ work is far from finished. They plan on continuing to develop the website and reaching out to the Bowdoin community. A second video is in the works—one using stop-animation to discuss the Carbon Neutrality Plan. Look out for it on this blog in coming weeks!