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Help the Earth with Project Green Lancaster

Emily Hepner
Assoc. Features Editor

On a close inspection of Millersville’s campus there’s something green that might be catching your eye. Over the past years Millersville has been developing to become a sustainable and green-friendly campus. These efforts can be seen in all of the buildings on campus that host multiple recycling bins for plastic, paper and aluminum disposables and in some of the bathrooms on campus that are offering only air hand dryers, as opposed to paper towels.

Project Green Lancaster began in 2008 and is run by students taking Professor Irwin’s Digitial Media Writing class.
Project Green Lancaster began in 2008 and is run by students taking Professor Irwin’s Digitial Media Writing class.

There’s also the new Center for Sustainability that’s been launched on campus as a branch from the Civic and Community Engagement Research Project (CCERP) that gets Millersville students involved with creating sustainability in the local community and world. However there’s one effort that might be flying under your radar: Project Green Lancaster (PGL).

As you may guess from the name, PGL is a website that draws attention to the variety of sustainable efforts that are being made across Lancaster county, and a few parts of neighboring York County. But what you may not notice immediately is that this is a website ran entirely by Millersville students and their professor, Dr. Stacey Irwin.

“I got the idea when I heard that the Sierra Club designated Lancaster a “Cool City,” explained Dr. Irwin.

In 2008, Lancaster joined the Sierra Club and became a “Cool City” by signing the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, which is a commitment to stopping global warming.

“When I heard this, I thought that there must be a lot of great projects happening,” stated Irwin.

It was this idea and the increased interest on green and sustainable changes from her students that inspired her to create Project Green Lancaster. The website started in the fall of 2008 by her Digital Media Writing students. The focus of the class is for students to develop their online writing voice. One of the ways they learn to do this is by going out and interviewing local Lancaster businesses and talking to the owners about what sustainable efforts they’re making.

The goal of the website is to provide information on local businesses that you wouldn’t be able to find on a basic Google search.

“It’s important to build content that gets the students involved with the community,” said Dr. Irwin.

Lemon Street Market was featured on Project Green Lancaster for their local and organic groceries.
Lemon Street Market was featured on Project Green Lancaster for their local and organic groceries.

Some of her personal favorite businesses that have been involved with PGL are Lemon Street Market, which is a local market that can be found on Lemon Street in Lancaster City that specializes in local, sustainable, organic and fair-trade groceries (as explained by their PGL page), and Teaching Sustainability to Children, which is a source on PGL’s page for different organizations in the area that teach children environmentally friendly facts.

Dr. Irwin notes that an important green effort being made on Millersville’s campus is the Center for Sustainability. As mentioned above, the Center for Sustainability focuses on creating a better local community and world. They achieve this by following the United Nations description of sustainability, which focuses on “three pillars” of economic justice, social equity and environmental protection.

Some of the center’s current projects include getting the residence halls involved with terra-cycling, creating the ‘Ville-age Organic Garden behind Huntingdon House and co-sponsoring campus wide talk with found of W.A.T.E.R. (Water in Africa Through Everyday Responsiveness). To learn more about Project Green Lancaster and the efforts being made in our local county check out their website at www.millersville.edu/~digitalw/env2008/ and you can find out more on the Center of Sustainability by visiting them at the second floor of Huntingdon House on George Street.