As Bob Janis was talking to our class, I couldn’t help but think about how DePaul’s “green initiatives” are not primarily to make the campus sustainable. I think that the primary objective is to gain a positive image and good publicity for DePaul. While I don’t think that this is a necessarily a bad thing, I do think that DePaul should be a little more transparent about it.
Recently, DePaul University received a low rating from an article published by the Sierra Club. Because of the low grade, DePaul felt the need to spring into action. A sustainability committee was formed and has grown, and many “green initiatives” were instated. The question I kept asking myself was, “If DePaul had not received a low rating, would any of this exist?”
I’m very suspicious that a lot of the things DePaul has done lately in regard to sustainability are more for publicity than actually doing something “good” for the environment. Solar panels in the quad may be something “good” that the university is doing. But they’re also something else. They’re giant signs, showcasing that, yes, DePaul is green. Even more pronounced is the giant “We’re Golden” sign in the entrance to the quad on Fullerton. What’s the point of getting LEED certified gold if you can’t show it off? And the “hybrid public safety cars”, which are actually SUVs that proudly announce that DePaul is “going green.” I’m sorry, but putting “going green” on the side of an SUV is absurd and laughable.
And while I can personally assert that DePaul’s intentions may not be sustainability, their results are, which, in the end, isn’t so absurd and laughable.