The Oct. 18 ground breaking for the new construction was a great monument to PCC’s exemplary implementation of the money raised from bond Measure P.However, as technology evolves, “we need to make sure that we’re around in the future to enjoy it,” said Yuet-Ling O’Connor, associate professor of natural sciences.
We fully agree.
Measure P was passed in 2002 with the highest approval mark in California’s history. The measure gave the Pasadena Area Community College District $150 million in General Obligation Bonds towards fixing worn-out plumbing, upgrade existing electrical systems to better access technology, renovate outdated classrooms and other vocational training facilities, and construct other facilities to relieve overcrowding.
These plans are great, but there is nothing mentioned about using the money to provide the PCC campus with any environmentally friendly facilities.
That needs to change.
The biggest concern with making the campus more environmentally friendly is the cost.
“It’s a sizable amount of money at first, but it will save thousands in the long-term,” said O’Connor.
The conversion to what are known as “Green Classrooms,” as well as the adding solar panels to power the lighting in the parking structures would be a great step.
Green Classrooms are designed architecturally to use more natural lighting, less heat and electricity and are made partially from recycled materials.
“We need to stop separating ourselves from the world,” said O’Connor, referring to her office that is lit with natural lighting.
Although utilizing funds for a higher standard of education is a high priority, we feel it is necessity for colleges to not only educate, but influence students about the importance of conservation.
There NEEDS to be an investment of Measure P funding aimed towards giving our campus greener facilities.
The only argument stopping PCC from installing greener facilities is the initial costs, but what the board of trustees is neglecting, however, is that lower emissions and energy use from the facilities will simply pay for themselves in the long run.
“[Installing solar panels] has saved me thousands of dollars a year,” said student John Cantwell.
Measure P has given the campus an opportunity to invest in making PCC greener; which, in effect, will lower costs in the future.
A recent lecture at PCC featured board of trustees member and Green Party affiliate Dr. Hilary Bradbury-Huang advocating for a more environmentally friendly campus. The turnout was so great that students began sitting in the aisles.
There is obviously high student and faculty interest, but more active lobbying by the board of trustees is necessary, regardless of the initial costs.
Converting PCC’s landscape would be the simplest and most affordable of way to make the campus more environmentally friendly. PCC’s landscaping of grassy fields is in no way natural to Pasadena’s climate, which receives eight to 10 inches of rainfall each year – technically making it a desert.
“The way we’re living is unnatural,” said O’Connor, “and can’t be sustained forever.”
Beyond saving money by cutting landscape costs, Southern California is a semi-desert. With raging wildfires, conserving water should be part of our education as a necessary form of survival.
Arizona State University has enacted policies to build only green structures and to pursue renewable energy and convert parts of its campus to native landscaping.
We feel converting PCC to a native landscape would be the simplest and cheapest step in the right direction. Cost is of no consequence when the future of the world is at stake.