April 6, 2010

University Will Continue to ‘Meadow’ Slope Lawn to Promote Sustainability

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As part of the University’s initiatives to cut costs and reduce its carbon footprint, the Cornell Grounds Department will continue to let a portion of Libe Slope grow wild this spring and summer. The untamed grasses on the northern part of the slope that students encountered last fall will likely become the norm as the University pursues its long term goal of moving towards sustainability, according to Kevin McGraw, grounds department landscape manager.“Anything that was meadowed last year will be meadowed this year,” Kevin McGraw, grounds department landscape manager, said. The “meadowing” is part of Cornell’s plan to get the most out of the land on campus as the University looks toward development and expansion, as part of the broad Climate Action Plan.According to the CAP’s website, improved land use translates to less vehicle miles traveled on campus, integration of Ithaca’s natural landscape with the University’s infrastructure and continued naturalization efforts aimed at improving campus aesthetics while reducing its carbon footprint.In addition to improved land use, the CAP aims to improve the use of space in buildings — the University’s largest single capital investment — through what the website calls “a detailed evaluation of program space needs of new construction or renovation projects using consistent standards.”Finally, the CAP will improve the energy efficiency of buildings by adhering to the ambitious standards mandated by the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. For instance, new buildings on campus will have to reduce energy consumption to 50 percent of the industry standard baseline. Several buildings on campus, including Weill Hall and Alice Cook House, already adhere to LEED standards.However, some Cornell students see little sense in not mowing the lawn. “I personally think it looks unkempt and it distracts from the appeal of the campus. I would like to see the grass cut,” Andrew Schwartz, ‘11 said. “I’m wondering if those initiatives can take place in more appealing ways. Can’t they just let other areas of this vast land grow?”

Original Author: Joey Anderson