my sustainable experience

One of the many hats that Janet St. Laurent, program assistant in Development, wears at Colby-Sawyer is that of the college's recycling coordinator. In her 15 years on campus she has worked to make sure there are recycling stations in every building.

St. Laurent is one example of how individuals in the Colby-Sawyer community of faculty, staff and students walk the talk of sustainable living to which Colby-Sawyer is committed. Colby-Sawyer's GreenROUTES is a campus-wide initiative to eliminate the college's greenhouse gas emissions, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and overall educational experience, and achieve our shared vision of personal well-being, social justice, financial security and environmental stability for ourselves and our larger global community.

What does it mean to you to live a satisfying and sustainable life?

It is satisfying to work on living a more sustainable life knowing I am making slow but steady progress. It is also satisfying to know that the environmental decisions we make (even small ones when combined with others across the world) can have a significant impact on the quality of life on the earth now and for generations to come.

What kinds of things are you currently doing in your life to live more sustainably?

In addition to being avid recyclers, my husband and I grow some of our own fruits and vegetables using compost that we create ourselves. We combine trips to save gasoline, and we use cloth shopping bags. Here at work, I have two trays under my desk, one for scrap paper to use in my printer for drafts, etc. The other is my recycling bin. I print double-sided whenever possible.

What is the most fun or interesting action you're taking to reduce your environmental impact and/or make the world a better place?

I attended a workshop on green cleaning supplies and learned some interesting facts about chemicals in many cleaners that are harmful to our bodies as well as the environment. I now use more and more green cleaners, some of which I make myself.

What would you like to do, and what is stopping you?

I would love to own a hybrid car and switch to a geothermal heating/air conditioning system, but unfortunately haven't been able to afford either.

What project or idea would you like to see our GreenROUTES initiative tackle next?

It would be exciting to see alternative energy systems on campus even if they are miniature versions of turbines or solar panels. I know there are people working to make something like this happen.

For years I've had a dream about a reuse store on campus that students would run for the campus community to use, similar to how the Courier and WSCS Radio Station are run. Maybe at some point, GreenROUTES, along with backing from SIFE, SFGC, faculty and a sponsor, could make this a reality. It would be a wonderful opportunity to provide students with a valuable learning experience as well as a way to reduce items going into the trash.

What benefit do you feel the GreenROUTES initiatives are offering our students, now and in the future?

GreenROUTES has helped the college analyze where it is and where it could be regarding sustainable issues. They lead by example, and their beneficial reports have helped to inform the campus community, thus setting the stage for students (as well as faculty and staff) in their personal and professional lives.

In the face of all of the challenges in the world, what keeps you hopeful?

As far as sustainability goes, I am hopeful because I see some progress being made world-wide to protect the earth's resources. It isn't happening quickly, and some countries are much more advanced than others, but maybe there will be a domino effect and things will start to improve more quickly as more and more people begin to think sustainably.