P-Safe and LMU going green - Los Angeles Loyolan : Board Editorials

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P-Safe and LMU going green

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Posted: Monday, January 26, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 12:15 pm, Tue Aug 30, 2011.

The sight of LMU DPS officers making their way across campus while riding a Segway-like scooter may seem laughable to some, and contemptible to others. The Loyolan, however, fully supports this initiative not only within the Department of Public Safety, but as a component of the University's commitment to going green. The steps that Public Safety has taken thus far are encouraging, truly LMU at its best. Although critics will deride this effort as unnecessary, or at the very least too costly, this community must vigilantly strive to be comprehensive stewards. We must be willing to examine the environmental impact of all the campus' activities. Will Loyola Marymount remain at the forefront of green campuses, pursuing new projects even in this time of economic hardship? Seeing the T3's around campus gives us reason to be optimistic. With the recent news that all staff hires will be put on hold, will the University continue to invest in a critical implementation of the Mission Statement? Moving ahead with comprehensive measures to reduce the University's carbon footprint may be adversely affected without the creation of a full-time staff position that would oversee campus-wide environmental initiatives. In many ways, LMU is already ahead of the curve, such as the first university-wide recycling center in the U.S., the largest green roof of any university in the U.S. (Leavey Field) and the largest solar panel system of any American university (atop University Hall). There is an environmental advisory committee comprised of faculty, staff and students who voluntarily watch over plans for a greener LMU. But given the 'committee culture' of the University and the deliberately cautious nature of its operations, LMU would undoubtedly benefit from the expertise and contributions of a full-time staff member. The wide-ranging duties of the committee members also inhibit a complete focus on sustainability. Such a move would also maintain LMU as a leader in these efforts, and prevent unwanted cases of environmental transgression from occurring. A prime example would be the purchase of large SUVs for Public Safety's use. Although they were purchased before he was employed by the University, Chief Hampton Cantrell is already looking to phase out these vehicles. Had there been a staff member charged with overseeing such purchases (from an environmental impact standpoint), instead of a committee that meets infrequently, then perhaps we would not see the mammoth gas-guzzlers on campus today. To some, these measures seem senseless during times of recession. We argue, however, that it is during these times when we face our most difficult tests, and to fail them would be unbecoming of an institution such as LMU. When the fiscal belts tighten, can we continue to put our money where our mouth is? Is it more expensive to purchase a hybrid vehicle? Initially, yes. The payoff occurs further down the road. Environmental stewardship might be costly now, but it is the future that holds the rewards. There will most certainly come a time when the University is judged by what it did to be more environmentally conscious, and let us move now to make sure we did what was right, even when it was most difficult.

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