Sustainability office to help campus go green

Students for Environmental Action approve Temple’s attempts for a greener school.

Since “going green” is on more students’ minds these days, Temple’s newest office is attempting to address the idea of an environmentally friendly campus.

On July 1, Temple announced the opening of the Office of Sustainability, a new administrative unit that plans to lead the university’s efforts in promoting environmental responsibility throughout Main Campus.

Sandra McDade, director of the office, was previously part of the Sustainability Task Force, which assessed a variety of sustainable practices for urban universities.

McDade said she applied for the new job because of her passion for the environment and sustainability, and she wanted to make a difference at Temple.

In April, President Ann Weaver Hart signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, promising to reduce Temple’s impact on the global warming crisis.

Students for Environmental Action, an active campus organization focusing on sustaining the environment, convinced Hart to sign the commitment. SEA is pleased that the university has the office.

“The Office of Sustainability will make an amazing difference on campus,” SEA President Jessica Gruber said. “Already, Sandra McDade is taking great steps toward making the campus sustainable. She is working with many student groups and different groups within the administration and is hoping to create many changes that will make a huge difference,” the junior environmental studies major said.

McDade said the new office plans to educate the Temple community about sustainability, enforce conservation practices and reach out to other student organizations this school year.

“We are very excited to work with the office this coming semester,” said Jacquelyn Fagan, a junior environmental studies major and the events coordinator for SEA. “After succeeding in getting the [commitment] signed and establishing this office, we now have the support we need by the administration to make some important changes on our campus.”

SEA plans to work on a variety of campaigns to improve sustainable practices on campus and create awareness to students, faculty and the administration.

SEA education committee chair Paloma Vila doubts the intentions of the university in establishing the office.

“It’s still hard to know if the office was created because President Hart and the rest of the administration really feel it is important for a major university like ours to be responsible about how we go about doing business and set an example for others, or if they’re just buying into the whole ‘going green’ gimmick like so many companies and organizations you see these days,” said Vila, a junior civil and environmental engineering major.

This year, the Princeton Review included a “green rating” to its guide for colleges, with Arizona State University, Binghamton University and University of New Hampshire topping the list.

“Honestly, I think we just need to make sure that we can walk the walk and not just talk the talk,” junior sociology major Audra Winn said. “Our plans and goals are fantastic, the work we’ve done as a student group is certainly admirable, and we just need to keep raising the bar higher in order to succeed.”

Jessica Lawlor can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. This was a timely article given recent national publications in USA Today and the Wall St. Journal concerning other Universities’ efforts to encourage more sustainable behaviors within their community. As a Temple graduate, I am proud to see my alma mater is also leading in this important issue.

    Check out this exciting new “Green” off-campus housing project that we are beginning in the next few weeks and which will be completed for the Spring semester. The houses will be Energy Star Certified and will offer the residents the opportunity to walk or ride a bike to classes. I am very excited to offer this quality, eco-friendly, near-campus housing to Temple students.

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