Emory Report
August 24, 2009
Volume 62, Number 1

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August 24, 2009
Blue and gold go ‘green’ at orientation

By Kelly gray

At this year’s new student orientation, held Aug. 22–23, Emory expected to make long-lasting impressions of sustainability for new students by holding the University’s ‘greenest’ orientation ever.

New student orientation for many college campuses means multiple mass mailings, even before students arrive on campus and tons of food waste from banquets and family meals. Emory is changing its behavior with the expectation that it will remain as a value with its students throughout their college careers and beyond.

Up until two years ago, the University communicated with its incoming students and their parents through photocopies, providing assistance with the orientation process. “Those packets cost a fortune to mail so we decided to eliminate the paper package last year,” says Lee Smith, director of communication and orientation for undergraduate education.

“Emory can now communicate accurate information more effectively to students by using our internal Blackboard Web site,” says Smith. Blackboard is a content management system that students will use while enrolled at Emory. “Since the site can be kept current, it allows for dynamic communication.” The University is saving thousands of dollars annually by communicating to new students electronically.

Once students arrive on campus, the commitment to sustainability continues. In addition to promoting commute alternatives like biking and Emory’s 100 percent alternatively fueled shuttle, there was a major focus on recycling and composting at orientation events.

During the large informational fair at WoodPEC on Saturday, compostable flatware was used then composted. “Rather than producing large amounts of waste, we composted most items,” adds Smith.
The large dinner on McDonough Field, held in conjunction with the Coca-Cola Toast, was prepared with locally produced foods and ingredients.

Think Emory’s ‘green’ orientation is a one-time event? Think again. “The goal is to see how we can expand Emory’s green orientation each year. Last year, we only had one compostable event. This year, we had three,” says Smith.