Kent State ranks high in environmentally friendliness

Marissa Moore

Kent State was ranked 7 out of 10 for “most environmentally friendly companies in the U.S.” in June by Ladders, a United States-based company that provides career news, advice and a job search. The ranking was determined in part by former Kent State employees, who gave the campus an “environmental friendliness” score of 4.49 out of 5.

“I’m really glad to see that people who work here at Kent State recognize and appreciate what we’re doing around sustainability,” said Melanie Knowles, Manager of Sustainability at Kent State.

Knowles said the Office of Sustainability has seven initiatives. Some of the initiatives include transportation, energy, water and natural areas on campus.

Knowles said the Office of Sustainability is working to “make as many transportation options available” and “convenient as possible.” Some of the options listed on the sustainability webpage include the Flashfleet bikeshare, walkable paths such as the Esplanade and a “rideshare” through Gohio Commute.

“We have a lot of natural areas on campus, like a peatland wetland,” Knowles said. “Stormwater that falls on campus usually leads into these natural areas.”

Knowles said the “peatland” is located between Eastway and Henderson Hall. “It looks like a little wooded area but it’s an ecologically important environment.”

Knowles said students can use the wetlands to gain experience doing “environmental measurements and species counts” for research. A range of different plant and animal species use these spaces, as well as the prairie that is near the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Besides helping instructors and students in course studies with the “engineered” environments on campus, the Office of Sustainability is also trying to decrease the amount of food waste generated on campus.

Working with Aramark, the food service at Kent State, Knowles said they are thinking of using “anaerobic digestion,” where food waste will be turned into energy. The plans would go in to the Design Innovation Hub at the university “at least a year from now.”

Knowles said that recycling on campus has increased in the past few years.

“In 2012 (recycling on campus) was about 18%,” said Knowles. “Now we’re doubled that, we’re 36%.”

Knowles said the Office of Sustainability is always looking into what goes into a landfill, what it is comprised of and “how they can either reduce it or divert it away from landfills.”

Marissa Moore is correspondent. Contact her at [email protected]