Photo: Ann Schnoebelen
The resolution passed by Student Senate during the first meeting of the semester put Senate’s stamp of approval on Drake Environmental Action League’s latest aspiration to positively impact the ecosystem.
If the proposal is ultimately adopted by Drake University, it would mean all paper used by the school would be made up of at least 50 percent recycled materials and be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
According to the five-page document prepared by DEAL, “The FSC is an international nonprofit organization, created by the loggers, foresters, environmentalists and sociologists in 1993, dedicated to the protection and sustainable management of the world’s forests.”
In its report, DEAL contrasts the FSC’s certification process with that of the Sustainable Forest Initiative. The comparisons illustrate the differences between the two organizations in terms of the allowable amount of forest cut at a time, the use of genetically modified organisms and the assessment of social impact of deforestation, among other categories.
DEAL has also compiled data dealing with the financial impact of a switch to what it refers to as 50 percent PCW (post-consumer waste, meaning recycled materials) FSC-certified paper. According to their research, “Switching from 30 percent PCW SFI paper to 50percent PCW FSC paper would result in a $1.44 increase per student per semester. Switching to 30 percent FSC would increase $0.62 per student.”
While the group says that 30 percent is an admirable standard, Drake should go even further to support an environmentally conscious campus and adopt the 50 percent PCW model.
During their 20-minute long presentation to Senate, DEAL President Jennifer Koska and Treasurer Robb Landis also emphasized to senators that the slight cost also has a “high chance” of being absorbed by the university.
“That’s why we love this so much,” Koska said to the senators. “It makes such a big difference, but it’s such a little change that we have to make.”
Their report also makes several references to Drake’s mission statement saying that, “A significant role of a responsible global citizen is stewardship of both our natural and cultural heritage. While Drake may not be geographically near any old growth forests, our actions significantly impact this fragile ecosystem.”
With a unanimous resolution now attached to their proposal and petition, Koska and Landis say their upcoming moves will include talking to Faculty Senate and working out more details with members of the administration. If adopted, the switch would probably take place in fall of 2011, although the pair say, with some more legwork on their part, they hope to see results within the next couple months.
“We’re still trying to figure out what our next steps will be,” Landis said. “But [the]next steps will definitely be taken.”