Even though it’s the middle of winter, Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus saw “green” on Jan. 31 thanks to Focus the Nation, a nationwide teach-in about global warming solutions.
The event, which included a plethora of presentations on topics ranging from climate change and how it is affecting penguins to the greening of New York City streets, featured more than 40 speakers from various disciplines.
As a host university, Fordham took the opportunity to examine its ecological footprint and outline its environmental goals.
“We’ve reduced our electrical consumption by 23 percent over the past 10 years,” said Marc Valera, associate vice president of facilities management for the University. “We’re changing over to green cleaning chemicals, we’re setting back our thermostats and … we’re hoping to achieve 95 percent recycling of our waste.”
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University, signed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s challenge this past June to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions 30 percent by 2030.
“Here at Fordham we have already begun to do our part,” McShane said in a pre-recorded statement to the campus community, as he was unable to attend Thursday’s events. “The larger part of the work lies with you … to educate, inspire and move public and policy officials to act always for the common good.”
Focus the Nation at Fordham included performances from the Rivington Jazz Project Ensemble and the Red Hawk Native American Arts Council as well as an art and photography exhibit and Sustainability Marketplace of Goods and Good Ideas. A student-built wind farm on Edwards Parade was on display all week.
More than 1,100 colleges and universities in all 50 states participated in the teach-in.
The initiative was the culmination of Earth Week at Fordham, which began on Jan. 24, when the fifth-annual conference of the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges and Universities was held at McGinley Center on the Rose Hill campus.