GPSA Resolves to Decrease Lab Emissions

Cornell Office of Sustainability — which the GPSA’s sustainability committee will work with — has a Cornell Green Labs Certification Program that educates researchers in lab energy conservation and green chemistry...

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Alexander Loiben grad and Teja Bollu grad discuss the creation of an ad hoc sustainability committee to lower carbon emissions in Cornell laboratories. (Ryan Landvater / Sun Senior Photographer)
Alexander Loiben grad and Teja Bollu grad discuss the creation of an ad hoc sustainability committee to lower carbon emissions in Cornell laboratories. (Ryan Landvater / Sun Senior Photographer)

By MADELINE COHEN

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to create an ad hoc sustainability committee to lower carbon emissions, particularly those in laboratories, at a meeting Monday.

Alexander Loiben grad and Teja Bollu grad discuss the creation of an ad hoc sustainability committee to lower carbon emissions in Cornell laboratories. Ryan Landvater / Sun Senior Photographer

Richard Walroth grad, president of the GPSA, said that graduate student leaders need to work with the Office of Sustainability to reduce carbon emissions in labs.

“Since labs create a large portion of Cornell’s carbon footprint and graduate students are the main users of this lab space, we believe that a graduate student committee would help to guide the rest of graduate students in our labs with the help of the office of sustainability towards lowering our carbon footprint,” he said.

The Cornell Office of Sustainability — which the GPSA’s sustainability committee will work with — has a Cornell Green Labs Certification Program that educates researchers in lab energy conservation and green chemistry, according to Walroth.

Walroth added that he believes graduate students will play an important role in increasing laboratory sustainability.

"To make these labs green, we need graduate students to provide a large part of the footwork.” — Richard Walroth

“To make these labs green, we need graduate students to provide a large part of the footwork,” Walroth said.

Walroth said Monday night’s resolution is a continuation of the GPSA’s discussion of sustainability last year, when they passed a resolution urging the University to move Cornell’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality from 2050 to 2035.

There is a historical context involved with GPSA’s attempts to create a sustainability committee, according to Nicole Baran grad, counsel for the GPSA executive committee.

“It is interesting to know that five years ago the resolution was voted down to create a sustainability committee,” Baran said. “What it came down to was to whether a governing body like the GPSA should have a role in issues like this.”

Baran then added that she thinks that this committee is important as a way to facilitate “sustainable partnerships.”

“Right now there is no cohesive organization in which graduate students can speak to the administration about these issues,” she said.

Jessica Couch grad said she believes the committee is “absolutely necessary.”

“It reminds us that the impact we can have in environmental conservation collectively is much greater than the impact we can have alone,” Couch said.

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