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.
Barnard's community prides itself on its broad engagement with global issues, including climate change. Our goal is that by the time Barnard students graduate, they have interacted with sustainability and climate action through the classes they take, the events on campus, or the internships and student groups they involve themselves in. Students are introduced to sustainability as a central value on campus beginning during NSOP, where we engage incoming freshman with our Give & Go Green Sale, information sessions, and educational materials.
Buildings & Energy
Barnard accepted the NYC Carbon Challenge for Universities in 2009, and was one of few institutions to achieve the first stage of the challenge, a 30% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from 2005 base year levels, ahead of schedule. The College is committed to the next phase of the program, a 50% reduction by 2025. In order to achieve this goal, Barnard will continue building retrofits, along with new projects to make our energy systems more efficient.
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. This past spring, 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. 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. Faculty will launch another community garden in Cathedral Gardens in the fall.