Auraria Campus’ future is looking green

Photo credit: Bobby Jones• The Sentry

Chris Herr makes new goals for the SCP

Auraria’s Sustainability Campus Program (SCP) has become aware of reducing the ecological footprint of this campus over the past few years they established. A pilot for a new composting program has been running in the Tivoli. There have been retrofits to the toilets and faucets which, in the past two years alone, have helped the school save over three million gallons of water. The campus can thank the SCP for making Auraria a more sustainable campus. Chris Herr is the sustainability representative and project manager for the SCP. He’s still green himself, only being in the official position since August, but he loves living green and is excited to continue to improve Auraria’s sustainability.

Photo credit: Bobby Jones• The Sentry

Last year there was a vote that won by 83 percent of the Auraria student body to make the SCP a continual program.  Each year, five dollars from each student goes toward the SCP program. Now that the SCP is here for good, it’s Herr’s job to take students’ ideas and concerns and make changes happen for Auraria. “Before the SCP was permanent, it was difficult to make long-term changes like putting more solar panels on rooftops,” Herr said. “Contracts with those companies are 30-plus years; now that we have continuity we can really start making some exciting changes on Auraria.”

Chris Herr is a great asset to the SCP because he was a student at CU Denver, graduating in May 2017 with a master’s in public administration and non-profit management. Chris has extensive background in budget evaluation, management, and working with non-profits like the GrowHaus. “If I could have envisioned a job after I graduated with my masters, it would be this job,” Herr said. “I feel like I have a huge opportunity to work with students in the [SCP] program.”

Chris has always made sustainable choices in his personal life, but his first environmental revelation came when he was working in a call center selling dental insurance. “There are a lot of problems in this world and I’m a worrier,” Herr said. “I was tired of working for someone else while hoping there would be someone out there making changes to improve our environment. I quit my call center job and decided to be that person making the changes I want to see.” It’s important to Herr to have a large student voice, which is why he takes student surveys every week to give them an opportunity to voice their opinions. “There are so many projects the SCP has done that students haven’t heard what we’ve accomplished. It’s my goal to reorganize the publication of the SCP and really get that information out in the open for students to appreciate and get excited about.”

The Sustainable Campus Program has seven pillars of sustainability for Auraria: alternative transportation, education and outreach, energy efficiency, food and gardens, renewable energy, waste diversion, and water conservation. “Sustainability is broad; one day you’re working on low-flow toilets, the next day you’re working to fix bike pumps, the next day you’re digging through the electronic trash recyclers to save a few batteries,” Herr said. Chris’ passion for what he does really lights up the room—and it isn’t just the energy-efficient LED light bulbs this time. Auraria and the SCP have been hunkering down and, “We’re going to stress continuity, accountability, and consistency goals along with the seven pillars,” Herr said. “I’m excited to keep looking forward to some great changes on campus.”

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