Campus Culture & Operations
Reducing Barnard's Ecological Footprint
Our emissions are divided into Scopes 1, 2, and 3. Scope 1 refers to direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, including onsite fuel combustion from heating or cooling or from campus fleet vehicles. Scope 2 refers to all indirect emissions from purchased electricity. Scope 3 is made up of all other indirect emissions, including commutes, school sponsored air travel, trash disposal, and purchased goods. All our actions, individual and institutional, contribute to our collective footprint. Here's how we're tackling our shared emissions.
Our community encourages and engages with sustainability and climate action, both on campus and beyond. Campus initiatives on sustainability, diversity and inclusion, wellness, and other mission-driven values are integrated and mutually supported. Our goal is that by the time Barnard students graduate, they have engaged with sustainability and climate action through classes they take, events on campus, or internships and student groups they involve themselves in. Our annual Give & Go Green sale and Rebear Boutique promote circular economy solutions on campus. Programming such as Beyond Barnard’s “Dialogues for Change” and the Athena Center's "Athena Climate Challenge" help situate Barnard students as leaders in climate solutions.
Buildings & Energy
Barnard joined the NYC Carbon Challenge in 2009 and is proud to be one of the first NYC institutions to reach the initial goal of 30% emissions reductions from 2005 levels. In 2017, the College signed the “We Are Still In” pledge, underscoring our effort to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Progress to date includes offsetting 100% of purchased electricity with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and energy efficiency projects including LED lighting conversions.
Consumption & Waste
In 2016, Barnard completed a comprehensive assessment of our greenhouse gas emissions through Gotham 360. This assessment concluded that Scope 3 made up the largest portion of Barnard's emissions, meaning our trash, our commute, our purchases, and our air travel. To begin addressing our Scope 3 emissions, in 2018 we redesigned our waste collection system so that signage was clearer and the appropriate waste was being diverted from the landfill. This also included a switch to single stream recycling, as well as the implementation of organics collection in academic buildings and offices. We are currently piloting organics collection in the residence halls.
In order to really tackle Scope 3 emissions we can't just look at what we throw away, we also have to look at that stuff that comes into our campus, so we're exploring top-of-pipe solutions. In the spring of 2019, we hosted an interactive event, Women, Clothing, and Climate that included a used clothing sale, hands-on workshops on repair and reuse, and a student design challenge. The event explored the social and environmental impact of our clothing, and how circular economy solutions can help reverse that impact. We also host our annual spring event, Rebear: A Change of Clothing. The event was planned for April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and unfortunately had to be canceled in 2020 . Every spring, we model these circular economies through our Give & Go Green collection in the dorms, and sale to incoming freshman in the fall. We are also exploring a carbon charge for other Scope 3 emissions such as air travel, as well as more sustainable options in our purchasing.
Our outdoor green spaces play a crucial role in the way our community convenes and in our impact on the local environment. With the introduction of the Milstein Center, we have more green roof spaces, which increases outdoor space to relax, as well as provides environmental benefits for the building. In 2018, students collaborated with the Arthur Ross Greenhouse in order to construct the Barnard Community Garden, a small plotted garden within the Barnard quad. The community garden presents an opportunity for the community to involve itself in the management of green spaces on campus. Since the installation of the first community garden on campus, we have awarded grants to fund two more. In the spring of 2019 faculty residents of Cathedral Gardens installed a community garden on their roof and the Barnard Garden Club installed garden beds on the terraces of the Milstein Center.