Letter on Sustainability

A fresh movement for sustainability at Reed is building momentum, but students are the only soldiers in the fight. While the Sustainability Committee and Environmental Studies program are supported by staff and faculty, the burden of moving sustainability forward as Reed policy rests entirely on students. For many years, student activists campaigned the administration to hire a full time staff member to oversee and direct sustainability projects on campus. Doing so would be in accordance with realistic commitments to environmental stewardship upheld by many of Reed’s peer institutions, including Allegheny College, Wesleyan University, Pomona College, Middlebury, and Bowdoin. Reed’s administrative indifference to sustainability tarnishes Reed’s image and cultivates an indifference to Reed in brilliant prospies who are dedicated to environmental values.

Sustainability: Honor that Endures

Last semester, Reed hosted a Union to address climate change and issues of sustainability on campus. Hosted by two new assistant professors and two off campus guests, the moral question of Reed’s contribution to environmental destruction was brushed off. Many felt that the Union was a diversion of attention from the “specific relevance to the Reed community” that Reed Unions are instituted to consider. Reed’s attempts to become sustainable have been dubious. In 2009 the oldest community garden in Portland was bulldozed and paved over to build the Grove dorms. These dorms are LEED-certified and are one of the college’s starring achievements in environmental design.