If one thing bothers the president of U of All People, it’s being caught behind the curve, whether it’s in technology, sports, or even pedagogy (though curiously not in teachers’ salaries). Given UAP’s humble start as a community ag school, this attitude is perfectly understandable, especially since the citizens from the neighboring towns of Glutch and Glim still refer to U of All People as Ditchwater High, from when the old high school was on this site.
It gives President Bachtrach great pleasure, therefore, to proclaim that, starting in fall 2011, the campus will embrace a host of enviro-friendly measures that will put surrounding schools to shame. “The only way that U Hoo will be able to compete with us,” Bachtrach recently announced, “is by turning green with envy” -- a line reprinted in the student newspaper, Vox Omni Populi, picked up by AP, and recently aired in a YouTube video devoted to Funny Things College Presidents Say. Of course, so far, all we have are a bunch of proposals, along with a measly nonrenewable grant from the Glutch Chamber of Commerce, but that hasn’t stopped us from brainstorming and wish-listing. Below are some directives from the Green Initiative Team, U of All People, or GIT, UAP:
No toilet paper in the public restrooms. Time to embrace the Third World not just with our hearts, but with our hands.
Recycle and reuse (almost) everything: white paper and plastic bottles -- yes. Answers from your roommate’s calculus test -- no. Recycling competitions and quotas: the Bachtrach Order of Merit to whoever can reuse 400 paperclips a week!
Heat recovery from hot air generated in lectures. If this doesn’t work, check with medical experts to make sure students can still concentrate and text with frozen fingers, then set thermostats to 32 degrees in winter.
Solar panels on all surfaces aimed at the sun, including the shining bald pates of certain faculty members. This will put U Hoo to shame, since they have only one dinky sun-powered traffic sign, powered by the aluminum foil wrappings left over from lunch.
Wind power stations at all available junctures, mainly in the breezeways between halls.
Automatic regulators that shut off heat and light in all rooms without movement for five minutes. Note: this may present a problem for professors who rarely stir during lectures and induce a similar immobility in the students.
Rip out the AC in the dorms and replace with ice cubes and folding fans.
Take all the stair machines, exercise bikes, treadmills, and rowing machines from the recreation center and put one in each classroom, designating a student in each to generate power for the lights.
Bike- or walk-to-school incentives, including the elimination of all parking lots. Get rid of all shuttle buses and replace them with pedicabs run by students who no longer have Exercycles to use at the recreation center.
Find a use for all the ditchwater that accumulates along the sides of Entrance Avenue after even minor rainstorms. We don’t still want to be known as Ditchwater High, do we?
David Galef is a professor of English and the creative writing program director at Montclair State University. He also writes dispatches from U of All People for Inside Higher Ed.