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Marshall University Sustainability Partnership first in the state

Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 23:09

Marshall signed an agreement yesterday to help further efforts to conserve energy and reduce waste.

The Sustainability Partnership is a formal agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to create a working partnership.  Marshall is the first school in the state to sign on to the agreement.      

"Today, Marshall is stepping forward as a leader among universities in promoting sustainability," said Shawn M Garvin, U.S. EPA's mid-Atlantic regional administrator.  

By joining with the EPA, Marshall is not only working to reduce its own carbon footprint, but also helping to create the next generation of environmental leadership, according to a press release from the EPA.

In January 2009, the EPA's mid-Atlantic office began the pilot program, which assists major organizations to become more sustainable. Other sustainability partners in West Virginia include the city of Ransom, Dow's West Virginia operations, and Marsh Bellofram.

University president Stephen Kopp said the school has made significant progress in the last two years, and there are several new initiatives that Marshall is pursuing.  

"We are looking into a lot of things, from something as simple as having bottled water refill stations to reduce plastic waste to maintaining a rain garden," Kopp said.

Kopp said he has also laid out a potential plan in which students sign agreements allowing them access to energy-efficient cars to use for transportation when needed.  The university is exploring this possibility.

Lauren Kemp, senior and member of Student Environmental Action Coalition, said student support of the program was evident as 69 percent of students voted in favor of the Green Fee in November of 2008.  

"This was a great event and a good thing because our biggest obstacle is that nobody knows what we are doing, and most of our activities are being done quietly and humbly," Kemp said.

Patrick Miller can be contacted at miller490@live.marshall.edu.

 

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