On Wednesday, Oct. 23, more than 100 plastic water bottles and 16 tiny cups of dirty water became most unusual props as several members of the Classes of 2012 prepared to present their Green Dreams to the HWS community.
The Common Ground Green Dream competition, borne from minds of William Smith College Assistant Dean Lisa Kaenzig and Sustainability Coordinator James Landi ’08, was a six-week competition between the 36 Common Ground classes. Each group presented an original Green Dream idea, and the top four groups presented their ideas to students, faculty and staff in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
“This is a great way to start the semester, especially for first-year students, who we hope will remain environmentally active throughout their time at the Colleges,” said President Mark D. Gearan, during his opening address. “The ideas we’ll hear about tonight are the kinds of initiatives that Clancy Brown worked on as a student and that Jamie Landi undertakes as our sustainability coordinator. It’s these kinds of threads that we value at Hobart and William Smith.”
The ideas presented ranged from creating a team of Student Environmental Advocate Liaisons (SEALs) to a 3-month competition to reduce energy usage in residence halls. After each presentation, a panel of experts, including Gearan, Vice President for Finance Peter Polinak, Director of Communications Cathy Williams and Associate Professor of Economics Thomas Drennen, as well as students Clancy Brown ’09 and Will Beckham ’09, and alum Courtney Wilson ’08, asked the presenters questions about their Green Dreams, helping to narrow the playing field for those in attendance.
Following the presentations, the audience voted for their favorite initiative, and Common Ground Group 009 stood above the rest with their Water Bottle Exchange Program. The program will allow HWS community members to exchange 5 single-serving plastic water bottles for one reusable BPA-free Nalgene bottle. The group, whose slogan was, “if you want to make change, you must exchange,” posits that the program would save students money and reduce the amount of trash the Colleges send to the landfill.
Each of the winning presenters received a solar backpack, and their idea will be implemented during the 2008-2009 school year.
“All of the ideas presented during the Green Dream competitions were excellent,” said Landi, who, with the help of the Green Team, will help make the winning Green Dream a reality. “You’ll see the Nalgene bottles this semester, and I’d also like to implement the SEAL program and the residence competition within the next year.”