When it comes to being green, Colby College has "got it going on." In fact, a green leprechaun might seem more fitting as the college's mascot than its present one, a white mule. But no one really seems to understand that lucky charm, anyway. Despite the recent negative change in the economy, Colby has been consistently progressing toward the prototype of a green campus. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named Colby College the Individual Conference Champion for the second year in a row. This recognition can be attributed to the fact that Colby purchases more green power than any other school in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
This year Colby College earned a B+ from The College Sustainability Report Card, receiving straight A's in the categories of Administration, Climate Change & Energy, Food & Recycling, Green Building and Student Involvement. The Environmental Advisory Group, established by the president of Colby College, William D. "Bro" Adams, works to keep Bro informed about the environmental status of the school. This group has helped Colby achieve many green advancements, such as earning a gold level status by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) on its renovations of dorms and other buildings on campus such as the school's new bookstore. Russ Cole, the director of the Environmental Studies program at Colby College, believes that this gold level LEED status, as well as sustainable changes in landscaping and pest management, are some of Colby's major victories in creating a more environmentally friendly campus.
Although Colby does not run off of a coal powered plant, it unfortunately does still use fossil fuels for energy. The school currently burns a poor grade of fuel oil, which has an almost sludge-like consistency. However, Cole states that before the economic downturn, Colby had plans of "converting from a fossil fuel boiler to a biomass boiler." A biomass boiler would burn woodchips and wood pellets which would be "very green from a standpoint of fuel, given that the carbon emissions would be greatly changed." Cole hopes that this will be Colby's major source of energy in the near future.
Because there is always room for improvement, Cole states that Colby's challenge for the future is to engage the Dean of Students Office in the movement to make the school run on a more highly efficient green level by "making the community feel that they are part of the solution, not the problem." Overall, it is clear that every day Colby College is making steady progress towards creating an exceptionally environmentally friendly campus.