Dedicated Faculty and Staff Drive Green Initiatives on Widener Law Campuses
Web Editor - Published: November 30, 2009
“In Harrisburg, the Green Committee is looking into ways to reduce energy use,” says Vice Dean Robyn Meadows as she enthusiastically discusses efforts to make Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus more environmentally friendly. Faculty and staff on both campuses have led efforts to make Widener Law’s campuses green.

On October 21st, 2009, those efforts led Widener Law to become one of just five law schools in the nation to be accepted as a partner in the American Bar Association’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Law Office Climate Challenge. The ABA offered two methods for enrollment in the program, one of which involved increasing the recycling of office paper, including file folders and envelopes, to at least 90%. In addition, both campuses have tried to cut down on the use of paper by making double-sided printing the default setting for campus printers and by circulating inter-office memos by electronic means.

“We’ve positioned ourselves as leaders in the greening of U.S. law schools,” says Assistant Dean for Business and Administration Verne R. Smith of the school’s efforts, adding, “It’s great to see the ABA fostering this kind of initiative.”

Addressing some of the reasons for joining the ABA program, Vice Dean Meadows notes, “Widener provides such an ambitious environmental law program, we had an obligation to lead by example.” In addition to meeting the ABA’s threshold for paper recycling, Vice Dean Meadows and members of the Harrisburg campus Green Committee are looking at the possibility of only using office paper that consists of at least 30% recycled material.

In addition to partnership in the ABA program, both campuses are engaging in further efforts to become more environmentally conscious. All offices on both campuses have been outfitted with recycling containers, with the Delaware campus partnering with the Delaware Solid Waste Authority to recycle cans, glass, cardboard, and newspapers. In Harrisburg, a similar arrangement exists with Penn Waste. The respective Green Committees on both campuses continue to look for new initiatives to improve the school’s environmental footprint further.

These campus-wide environmental initiatives reflect the school’s commitment to environmental law as evidenced by the strong program provided through the Environmental Law Center and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic that has operated on the Delaware campus for 20 years. In January, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic will expand to the Harrisburg campus.