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By Emma West

Do you commute to an internship each day? What’s your go-to off-campus hangout spot? How do you get around when you leave Foggy Bottom?

 

DC is a very walkable, bike-friendly city, but when it’s 90 degrees outside or you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, you might ditch your bike (or scooter!) in favor of a Lyft, the free Circulator bus, or Metro. There are many ways to get around the city, some better for the environment than others—so let’s take a moment to think about how sustainability plays into your daily transportation habits. 

 

Metro customers waiting for Pentagon Express shuttle bus – Summer 2019

 

The transportation sector currently accounts for the largest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States at about 30%. Now more than ever, low-carbon transportation needs to be a priority as cities and states turn to real solutions to fight climate change. And there's no doubt that climate change is affecting all of us in the DC region. According to the EPA, "The region has warmed by more than two degrees (F) in the last century, hot days and heavy rainstorms are more frequent, and the tidal Potomac is rising about one inch every eight years." (To read more about the impact of climate change on the District, check out this fact sheet.)

 

But don’t get too discouraged: you can make a difference! The easiest and most impactful choice you can make each day to live a more sustainable lifestyle is to leave your car at home, forget about your ride-hailing app, and, instead, hop on a Capital Bikeshare bike, get some extra exercise by walking, or take Metro.

 

7000-series train pulling out of NoMa-Gallaudet U station

 

Did you know that each trip you take on Metrorail produces 40% less CO2 than taking the same trip in a car? Each year, Metro riders avoid emissions equal to 370,000 metric tons of CO2—an amount equivalent to the emissions from 41 million gallons of gasoline. 

 

And while public transit is already an efficient low-carbon mode of transportation, Metro is committed to making its internal operations even more sustainable. Since 2014, Metro has become approximately 6% more efficient, using less energy and fuel per vehicle mile.

 

Some exciting initiatives underway include:

  1. Lighting: Upgrading all station and facility lighting to energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED)
  2. Regenerative Braking: Integrating braking energy recovery into traction power upgrades 
  3. Service Improvements: Investing in modern fare payment technology, developing an electric bus strategy, and strengthening the regional bus network
  4. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): Designing all new and significantly renovated facilities to meet LEED Platinum standards
  5. Solar: Designating four station parking lots/garage rooftops for renewable energy development that will produce 7–9MW of power

 

About the Author: Emma West is an alumna of GWU and proud 2017 graduate of the Sustainability minor. Despite always having been passionate about environmental issues, it wasn’t until she landed an internship at Metro through the DC Sustainable Energy Utility that she truly embraced public transit for its role in fighting climate change. Emma works in the Office of Sustainability at Metro, tracking energy data and supporting project managers to quantify and implement energy efficiency projects across the organization. If you, like Emma, never knew Metro had a sustainability office and are interested in internship opportunities, or are just curious about what it is like to work in the transit industry, you can reach out by email at Metro_Sustainability@wmata.com

Welcome back G-Dub Green Hub.

Happy 2019! Here’s to a new year full of tons of opportunities and lots to look forward to at Sustainable GW. This post serves as a reminder that there are so many ways to get involved and we want YOU to contribute as much as you would like.

This space is here for you, and we are more than happy to help you generate published content that you can brag about while applying for jobs/internships/grad school/etc. Interested in making a post? Email us at sustaingw@gwu.edu and we can make it happen! If not, check back soon for more from us coming very soon

Sustainability at GW: Year in Review

So many exciting things have happened at the university in 2018, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s a round-up of sustainability related campus happenings at GW since the beginning of the year.

January:

  • Chef Jose Andres shared his story of making thousands of meals for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, hosted by GW and Food Policy Action
  • Sustainable GW and Campaign GW announced the official launch of the composting pilot
  • The GroW Garden set up the next semester’s worth of community supported agriculture (CSA), where students can get weekly shares of local produce using GWorld
  • GW cosponsored a talk on “Creating the Paris Path on Climate Change”
  • Bernie Sanders and Bill McKibben came to the university to talk about the future of renewable energy

February:

  • The first collection for the composting pilot occurred in the Mid-Campus Quad, with 80 pounds collected
  • Another group of sustainably-minded students applied to live in the Zero Waste housing affinity
  • Green GW’s annual Valentine’s Day succulent sale took place
  • The 2018 Food Tank Summit occurred with the GW Food Institute
  • Planet Forward hosted a salon with global parties
  • The GroW Garden had their first volunteer hours of the year
  • The $2 million Sustainable Investment Fund was announced

March:

  • The GW Environmental & Energy Law Association and the Environmental Law Institute hosted a symposium
  • Nutritionist Debbie Amster came to speak on how to eat a healthy diet in college
  • Campaign GW hosted Earth Hour for the entire university

April:

  • Sustainable GW and The Store hosted a clothing swap to combat the consequences of fast fashion
  • The Planet Forward Annual Summit began, and the Storyfest winner was announced
  • Sustainable GW took part in the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative
  • The Foggy Bottom Farmers Market reopened for the Spring Season
  • Green GW’s annual Trashion show occurred at the Georgetown Patagonia store
  • The Conscious College Road Tour made its stop at GW
  • GW Dining held an event called “Smoothies for Sustainability”
  • GW Campus Rec and Sustainable GW led an outdoor yoga session
  • An official “campus cleanup” occurred in honor of Earth Day
  • Four environmental film screenings took place
  • The university congregated in Kogan Plaza for the annual Earth Day Fair

May:

  • International Compost Awareness Week occurred, with GW’s compost pilot now averaging over 200 pounds collected per week
  • GW celebrated #BikeToWorkDay
  • GW was recognized as the largest green power user in the Atlantic 10 by the EPA Green Power Partnership
  • The Class of 2018 graduated, some of which had a minor in sustainability
  • The GW Commencement speaker, Marcia McNutt, was an oceanographer and president of the National Academy of Sciences
  • The Green Move-Out program collected and donated over 50,000 pounds of clothes, food and household goods

June:

  • Sustainable GW met the Class of 2022 at Colonial Inauguration
  • The first faculty planting of the summer took place at 2101 F Street, moving the university one step closer to meeting the GW Sustainable Landscape Guidelines
  • Several offices and departments re-certified their status as an official green office in the Green Office Network
  • G Street Park was surveyed and will be used for an upcoming sustainability project

July:

  • Sustainable GW’s first clothing repair workshop took place in collaboration with the Innovation Center
  • GW cheered on the This Is Zero Hour youth climate march on capitol hill

August:

  • Earth Overshoot Day occurred, and GW advocated for the #MoveTheDate initiative
  • GW announced the new dining vendor on the Mount Vernon Campus, SAGE, who focus on local food and other sustainability initiatives
  • Freshman moved in to their housing assignments, which were fitted with brand new recycling and trash signage
  • Sustainability at GW held their Welcome Week Open House to introduce first year students to the green community
  • The composting program expanded collection hours
  • The sustainability blog, G-Dub Green Hub, was officially launched

September:

  • The GroW Garden and Miriam’s Kitchen were featured in the Washington Post and on WTOP Radio
  • Freshman Day of Service took place and GW freshman engaged in the local community on a variety of projects, many of which are directly related to sustainability in DC
  • Many of the sustainability related student organizations hosted a joint info session for first year students, including Green GW, Fossil Free GW, the GroW Garden and GW Animal Advocates
  • GW’s Environmental & Energy Law Program hosted a presentation on sustainability and ecological management
  • A Carbon Pricing Toolkit that GW aided with was released
  • The GW Student Association and The Store hosted a Food Insecurity Town Hall
  • The GW Textile Museum hosted an event centering around the link between fashion and sustainability

October:

  • GW Campus Rec returned with another outdoor yoga session, reminding community members that wellbeing is an important part of sustainability
  • The first ever Green Roundtable occurred, bringing together sustainable student leaders from across the university
  • Student eco-representatives hosted a variety of events, including DIY workshops and a mend-a-thon
  • Sustainable GW announced the 2018 Duke Energy Innovation Fund winners
  • Green GW hosted GW alumni Patrick Realiza to talk about entering the sustainability field after graduation

November:

  • The Sustainable GW Leadership Team held a morning of ‘Coffee and Conversation’ with members of the university community
  • The DC Climathon at GW took place, which was a 24-hour hack-a-thon with the goal of hacking good food access
  • Sustainable GW hosted a Lead On Climate staff retreat
  • Director of Sustainability Research, Robert Orttung, spoke on 900 CHML radio about climate change in the United States

December:

  • The GW Sustainable Scholars Award continued to accept undergraduate research proposals, and will be giving out grants to students and staff
  • The compost program finished its final collections of the year, collecting over 2 tons of compost since the launch in January
  • Sustainable GW is hosting a holiday party and sustainability tour of the university to celebrate a successful year

August 23rd, 2018

Lucy Hummer

Welcome to G-Dub Green Hub

Hey everybody! Welcome to G-Dub Green Hub, GW’s brand new sustainability blog. This space is going to be for students, staff and anybody else to write about all things green, at the university and beyond.

My name is Lucy, I’m a junior at GW majoring in environmental studies and geography and minoring in sustainability. I’m also an intern for the Office of Sustainability. I’ll be contributing content regularly, but so will you! We’re excited for the variety of content and talents that GW students will be able to provide throughout the year. My hope is that this page can serve as a place for news, promo, outreach, entertainment, education, etc, etc, etc.

Our goal is to connect students not only to the school’s green programming, but also to one another. Sustainability intersects with almost every interest and hobby, even if you don’t realize it yet! Ultimately, we want to remind all of you that living a green life is easy, fun and impactful, especially here on the GW campus.

Check back soon for new posts, and feel free to contact us at sustaingw@gwu.edu or lucyhummer@gwu.edu if you have questions or would be interested in writing for us! We want to include as many voices as possible throughout the year.

Talk to you soon GW!

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