Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 6, 2021

Students propose ideas for a greener Homewood

By FRANK BRANCATI | October 25, 2012

The Sustainable Hopkins Infrastructure Program (SHIP) held an event last night to address possible ways to improve Hopkins.The Future of Hopkins Symposium event was held in order to bring together students and faculty with the goal of collaborating and hearing their ideas about how to build a more sustainable Hopkins.

In the past, SHIP has held an event titled the Green Idea Generator. They decided to shift the event to a broader scope regarding how to improve Hopkins as a whole. As such, the Future of Hopkins Symposium was the first event of its kind held by SHIP.

“What we were looking to do this year was to branch out a little bit more into just the future of Hopkins in total,” senior James Verdone, the SHIP Co-President, said. “We were looking to use sustainability in the general sense of the word. Less so than just being green, but just how can we make Hopkins strong in the long run.”

The three professors to speak at the event included Stephen Plank from the Department of Sociology, Elizabeth Rodini from the Department of Museums and Society and Benjamin Hobbs from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. In addition, junior Thalia Patrinos, sophomore Jonathan Smeton, sophomore Kanav Kathuria and freshman Olivia Seideman and the Eco-Reps presented on ways to improve Hopkins.

Plank began the symposium by discussing the ideas of collective action and the provision of public goods and their potential benefits to SHIP as well as Hopkins as a whole. He talked about the importance of group action in maintaining and producing public goods and how incentivizing this action could be a viable way to increase student involvement and awareness. This included monitoring electricity use by having rewards for students who conserve electricity.

Plank also encouraged person to person invitation and spreading of awareness to help to make the campus greener.

Rodini spoke next and proposed building an art gallery within the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, on the Quad Level where the Café Q once was. The “Gallery Q” as Rodini titled the gallery would incorporate qualities that Rodini felt were central to Hopkins.

“[We] need to think about what makes Hopkins Hopkins,” Rodini addressed the audience. “When we think about ourselves, we are a big research university, with research at the front.

We have strong traditions with programs in the sciences, so a gallery would maybe want to think about the sciences and not just art.”

Rodini’s description of this art gallery likened it more to a laboratory than a conventional art gallery, with greater emphasis being placed on the interaction and investigation of the works on display.

Hobbs brought professor presentations to a close with his discussion of students’ work in reducing greenhouse gasses. Hobbs talked about the work that the student body in conjunction with the Office of Sustainability had done in the past. Hobbs and the University’s President’s Task Force on Climate change, which Hobbs chairs, laid out plans to reduce the University’s green house gas emissions by half by the year 2025. He stressed the importance for Hopkins to not only work towards being a more environmentally friendly campus, but also that they serve as a leader to other universities in matters of reducing greenhouse gasses.

Student presenters at the symposium also discussed plans to help Hopkins grow and be more environmentally friendly in the future.

Patrinos proposed the establishing of a Johns Hopkins University Free Store. The store would be a place where Hopkins students could donate items they no longer need and other students could come in and take whatever they need. This would eliminate the need for JHU Turn.

Smeton and Kathuria gave a presentation titled “Faucet or Toss It.” The presentation discussed the importance of using faucet water and re-usable water bottles instead of disposable water bottles. They stressed the fact that water from the faucet is no less clean than bottled water, and significantly more energy and environment friendly.

The final student presentation was given by Seideman from Eco-Reps. She outlined a plan to incorporate Green Roofs at Hopkins. Green Roofs could be implemented to any school building with a flat roof. These roof gardens would help beautify the school and help the environment. She encouraged the fact that students would be able to take part in the gardening and help to maintain the Green Roofs.

Co-President of SHIP Harley King expressed her satisfaction with the event and plans for future events.

“I think this was a good first year for our event, but I also think that next year we could broaden our reach and find projects that are of course related to the environment, but also projects that have nothing to do with the environment in terms of student projects. So that would be a goal,” King said.

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