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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Braslavsky: Green around the world

This post was written by sophomore Tom Braslavsky, a Hatchet Columnist

I was sitting in a square in downtown Amman, Jordan one evening this summer, observing as people went about their business. All of a sudden, a window opened on the third story of a building across the street. A woman peeked out her head, then took out a full trash bin and proceeded to dump it onto the side of the street below, where a pile had already formed from other residents doing the same thing.

Now, some older students may remember a time when Thurston residents would similarly throw various artifacts out of their own windows (though I wasn’t around back then). But more recently, GW’s environmental consciousness profile has changed. And it’s not just an institutional shift, as some recent articles in The Hatchet have reported about – it’s our generation.

As many a commentator has pointed out, ours is the Green Generation. With awareness about global warming, pollution and waste rising through outlets such as the media and education, young people are growing up with an increased concern for the environment and preserving our world.

This semester, I see green everywhere on campus. The new South Hall is environmentally friendly. The Freshman Reading Program this year asked students to read Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How it Can Renew America. Revolution Green is the largest Living-Learning Cohort on campus, and last year made their residence hall, Building JJ, the greenest on campus. In Eckles Library on the Vern, you can get 25 cent coffee if you bring your own mug, which discourages wasteful paper and foam cups. As green has become trendy, the list of environmentally-friendly aspects to the University has increased.

My summer experience in Jordan taught me to value the evolving American attitudes on waste management, pollution and environmental preservation. Our parents and grandparents did not grow up in a society stressing lower carbon emissions and recycling. Being raised to value these initiatives as ways to help our planet, we have the ability to reach out to older generations, as well as set a positive example for developing countries and societies that may not place as much emphasis on saving the environment.

Sure, GW’s administration, its students and the US as a whole could show much more seriousness on this subject. Although GW did rise in the Sierra Club green rankings this year (to 81st out of 135), that still puts us in the bottom 50 percent. New York University, an urban school like GW, beat us by 41 places.
But we can only get better from here. Our green generation is increasing in size, and as it grows it will help sharpen the sense of shared public space and concern for our natural surroundings among Americans, and hopefully also among our friends around the world.

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