To the Editor:

In response to the apropos editorial “Green is the New Blue” (Nov. 15, 2013), thank you! Now is the time for us to engage the campus community in a dialogue about sustainability. With strategic planning underway, we have a prime opportunity to integrate sustainability into Andover’s future.

Andover has been exploring sustainability for years, from the approval of our environmental policy statement in 2008, to our first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-rated building, Paresky Commons, to our recycling program which diverts over 40 percent of solid waste from the landfill. In academics, Andover offers innovative courses and world-renowned lecturers on environmental and social responsibility. But we can go so much further!

Within the administration, the Sustainability Steering Committee has been working diligently for several years to evaluate our impacts and set priorities for pursuing environmental excellence. Among the students, the EcoAction Club has been welcoming younger students into projects on campus for decades. The E-proctors also began sustainability education in the dormitories in 2010. As your new full-time Sustainability Coordinator, my role will be to support Andover in becoming a leader in this arena.

To facilitate campus collaboration, I intend to form a Community Sustainability Task Force this winter. I invite one representative from Student Government and one from EcoAction to co-lead the Task Force with me, so the students can have an active voice in our campus sustainability strategy. It is my hope that Phillips Academy will set environmental goals - such as a greenhouse gas reduction target - and report our progress as an institution.

To overcome the apathy discussed in the editorial, individuals need to feel empowered to make change. Our day-to-day choices have significant impacts. For example, did you know that the annual Non-Sibi Day waste audits show that 30-40 percent of materials found in our trash could have been recycled? Or that setting your laptop to use the “sleep” function can reduce its electricity use 70 percent?

One simple way that you can go green is to join us for the Green Cup Challenge this winter. Help Andover compete with peer schools to reduce the most energy, and help your dormitory win fun prizes. Want to be even more involved? EcoAction will be meeting weekly on Monday nights at 6pm in Gelb Room 211 to plan activities for raising awareness about energy conservation- We hope to see you there!

Finally, with so much happening behind-the-scenes, I look forward to working with the Phillipian to share sustainability news on a more regular basis. Together, let’s make Andover a Greener Blue!

Debra Shepard

Sustainability Coordinator