In 2013, a Princeton Review survey found that 62 percent of college applicants value knowing the level of a college’s commitment to the environment.
Sophomore Cindy Hastings was one of them, and is now a resident of Tree House, a small living unit focused on environmental efforts.
“Sustainability was definitely a big factor to where I wanted to go for school,” Hastings said. “I’ve known for a good portion of my life that I’ve wanted to do environmental related something and having that presence on the campus life as well as academic was very important to me.”
Ellen Hughes, president of Environment & Wildlife Club, said that sustainability was not something she looked at but that increased programs could attract more prospective students. If she had been interested in sustainability, she said, she would not have come to Ohio Wesleyan, even though she loves it now.
Alisha Couch, director of OWU Admissions, said that the current sustainability programs are used to attract students. She provided data on the number of prospective students who show an interest in Environmental Science as a major.
In the 2008 Sagan National Colloquium, “Cultivating a Green Campus,” jump started campus environmental efforts and led to the creation of the President’s Task Force on Sustainability.
This annual colloquium followed the topic with the 2013 SNC, on “Interdisciplinary Impacts of Climate Change,” and this year’s, “H2OWU: Water in our World.”
Hughes praised these programs for raising awareness, but said more action can be taken by the university.
“I think the school could definitely do more, especially since we preach it so often, with all the national Sagan Colloquiums that we do each year, one on climate change last year and then water conservation now.”
– Ellen Hughes
Hughes and fellow Tree House resident Aletta Doran also said that sustainability is an issue that goes beyond college campuses; it affects the entire world.
President Rock Jones agreed with this view, saying that sustainability is important to the university and “all of our society today.”