A community garden, bike share, and additional water bottle refill stations are just some of the projects on the horizon in the College of Charleston’s Office of Sustainability.

New student orientation starts on June 10, 2013 and for the first time, all students will be given information on how to be the most sustainable they can be on campus. Materials will be given to new students that explain all sustainability initiatives on campus from re-useable water bottles and recycling to resource usage and conservation. The Office will also host a table for the organizational fair following the orientation session.

The College’s bike share program will kick off in fall 2013, giving students, faculty and staff access to a fleet of College-owned bikes available for check-in/out. The project is intended to provide campus community members access to an alternative to vehicular transportation and to reduce the load of seldom-used bicycles on campus. Bikes will be available for check-out for a one-day period.

“Students in my Applied Sustainability course were instrumental in both of these projects,” says P. Brian Fisher, director of the Office of Sustainability. “The students are passionate about sustainability and took the course from theory to practice. It a great example of the types of opportunities available at the College.”

Also during fall 2013, an additional four to six water bottle refill stations may be installed using ECOllective funds. Stations have already been installed on the first floor of Maybank Hall and in the Tate Center near the first floor vending machines, as well as Lightsey, the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building, the Education Center, and the Rita Hollings Science Building. New refill stations will be installed in Addlestone Library and outside near Cougar Mall before the fall semester. To compliment these refill stations, all incoming freshman are given high quality, stainless steel, re-usable water bottles.

Many other projects have been underway in the past semester. The Office continues to work with Aramark on composting efforts across campus. City Bistro began composting in 2013 and is currently the only composting location on campus, although plans to expand to Liberty are underway.

The College of Charleston will submit its Climate Action Plan by July 15, as part of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. In this plan, the College has committed to setting a climate neutral date. The Office of Sustainability is going a step farther and creating a Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) to help to guide all sustainable initiatives on campus.

Finally, work will continue on the political science community garden, a dual partnership between the Office of Sustainability and the student group Green CofC. One of the few urban agriculture locations on campus, the garden is an opportunity for students to learn about gardening in an urban environment, as well as gain more experience in the care and upkeep that it takes to raise a healthy garden.

For more information about these projects, contact Brian Fisher at fisherb@cofc.edu.