Barnard aims to build the nation's first "Circular Campus." Alongside the department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Access Barnard, we are building a holistic approach based on circular economy principles, designed to reduce waste, emissions, and costs, transform consumption patterns on campus, and increase access affordability for our students.
Barnard has been selected to partner with and receive support from BLOXHUB, a Danish hub for sustainable urbanization, in developing this regenerative model.
Our first Circular Campus initiative is the launch of Rheaply, an internal reuse and exchange platform for the Barnard community. Starting with arts departments and Access Barnard, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to post and exchange materials and supplies. Eventually, with full campus integration, Rheaply can save thousands of pounds of emissions, thousands of dollars, and facilitate access to affordable and sustainable materials for our entire campus.
Learn more about Rheaply here.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, switching to renewable energy can only reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions by 55%. The remaining percentage of emissions comes from the way in which we make, use, and dispose of products and food. In 2016, we found that these emissions are responsible for 59% of Barnard’s total carbon footprint. These emissions can be addressed by replacing our linear model of production and consumption with a regenerative model in which materials and products are reclaimed, repaired, and re-introduced into production of “new” goods. These closed-loop systems are referred to as ‘circular economy’ solutions.
In light of COVID-19 and the recent events across the country, our community will need to come together to find a way to rebuild sustainably and equitably. We believe that circular economy strategies are one way to begin to address and dismantle environmental racism by creating more equitable systems of consumption, on our own campus and hopefully in future in collaboration with our local community.