Since it was formed in the spring of 2008, the Lehigh Environmental Advisory Group (LEAG) has worked with students, staff and faculty as well as many Lehigh departments to reduce consumption and to reuse and recycle whenever possible.
“Our goal is to create change on and off campus in small and large ways,” says Peggy Plympton, vice president for finance and administration. Plympton and Steve Cutcliffe, professor of history and of science, technology and society, are LEAG co-chairs.
LEAG’s mission is to provide advice to President Alice Gast and the university leadership on ways to improve sustainability on campus. The faculty- and student-led group is seeking additional members—one faculty and one staff member—to work on several initiatives: transportation alternatives and improvements; implementing the Climate Commitment; and creation of a Green Fund to support campus-wide sustainability projects.
Since its inception, says Plympton, LEAG has sought to implement single-stream recycling; recycle used engine oil, antifreeze, and vehicle tires; use recycled paper with soy-based inks; and increase by 30 percent the number of “green” office supply purchases over the previous year.
“LEAG consists of a unique group of people—undergrads, graduate students, faculty and staff—who have great ideas and want to take action to make them a reality,” says Plympton.
Faculty and staff who are interested in serving (or nominating others for an) initial three-semester term as at-large members of LEAG should send a brief statement by Jan. 22, 2010, to Cutcliffe describing the nature of their interest and the assets and insights they could bring to LEAG.
To achieve its goals, LEAG collaborates with other Lehigh environmental organizations including the Environmental Coalition (ECo) and the Environmental Initiative
(EI). ECo, which represents student organizations that list sustainability as a priority, serves as a unifying body for student environmental activities, and for relaying student interests and concerns to LEAG. EI is an interdisciplinary program that includes environmental degree programs and promotes research in emerging areas not otherwise within the scope of individual departments. EI is developing a repository of sustainability class content that can be used as a resource across Lehigh’s curriculum.