It is like the perfect storm—in a good way: The combination of large budgets and the idealism of college-age students. Across the country, college campuses are serving as some of the most impressive laboratories for sustainability practices. And, Oregon State University-Cascades campus is no different, both in regard to the hardware (the buildings) and the software (the students).
Already, OSU-Cascades offers a "sustainability double degree," which applies ideas and ideals about sustainability to a student's primary major. Moreover, with the 10-acre parcel finalizing its blueprints, the campus is preparing to showcase important infrastructure projects to preserve natural resources, like creating plumbing systems that will treat and recycle "gray water," and setting up buildings for solar panels and biomass boiler systems.
Matt Shinderman, who sits on the college's sustainability advisory committee, points out that the college has a unique opportunity. "We want to be the first campus for net-zero energy and net-zero water status," he says.
From OSU-Cascades' aspirations to the very real accomplishments of Bend Park & Rec, institutions in the region are implementing important measures to conserve natural resources. For this year's Green Issue, we profile a few of the institutions leading the way for sustainability practices, as well as pointing out some of the individuals who are making those changes within the institutions.Click here to read all about more of Bend's environmental Avengers.