Cochrane: I think, clearly not just here but throughout the country, there’s been a recent awareness that we have to be better stewards of our resources. If we’re ever going to be able to look at our grandchildren and children (we want to say) that we did our best to make certain that we used what we needed but no more, and made sure there were provisions for them in the future. I think people look at universities and higher education as being catalysts for change, and a place to serve as a model for change. I think it’s neat that (sustainability) not only embraces the environmental side of things, but it does so from the standpoint of economics, and the social piece and what not. It’s more than a “saving the environment” kind of thing. Saving energy is just the right thing to do.
CT: Do you have any examples of things students may be doing here in Blacksburg that affects the environment around us, without them knowing it?
Cochrane: I would say that we’re at a point where we have a lot of policies, procedures and what not in effect to reduce our energy consumption, make us more efficient, and do a lot of good things we’ve never done before. But, I think we’re at a point where we need to focus on changing our campus behavior and focus on getting everyone engaged. This involves everybody. A good example: You would not believe the amount of electricity we use. Why not treat the university campus like you would your own house? If you walk out the door, why not turn off the lights? Why not adjust your thermostat? Turn off your computer, turn off your lights, shut your windows, and be a good steward of the university resources, because in reality if we cut our energy consumption, we have a great chance of lowering your tuition.
You’re going to be in charge sometime, somewhere of something, so why not be a role model for your buddies? If you’re in the dorm, say “Hey guys, we can do better than this. Let’s stand up and take charge, and make it a priority to live a more sustainable life.”