It’s not easy being a green company, institution or city.
Of the four largest cities in Pennsylvania, only Erie lacked a dedicated green website. But that has all changed; Gannon University has officially launched www.greeneriepa.org, designed as a comprehensive source of “all things green” for both local residents and businesses.
The website will be center of all interests in environmental issues. The website is designed to be a “portal” for area residents to more easily locate green businesses, activities, services, products and more.
A number of community partners have already contributed to the site’s development, including Don Blakesley, Erie County recycling coordinator; Melanie Johnson, Erie business action team manager for the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership; Steve Porter, chair of the Northwest PA Green Economy Taskforce; Brittany Prischak, sustainability coordinator at Mercyhurst University; Sister Pat Lupo of the Neighborhood Art House; and Angela Porfilio of Environment Erie.
There are more than a dozen articles to encourage Gannon students and faculty to be conscious of how people affect the environment.
The website has several goals. First, it hopes to promote recycling along with reducing unnecessary wastes. It also strives to increase energy and water conservation.
The website provides a comprehensive list of all “green” organizations in the Erie area. Finally, it demonstrates practical ways the community can strengthen its focus and commitment to the environment, such as “how to” information on properly disposing of pharmaceuticals and alternative ways of transportation.
The site is made possible by a grant of $7,300 from the Erie Community Foundation.
It took Gannon an entire year to receive the grant after first applying. The university at last received the grant in the fall of last year.
The environmental sustainability committee of Gannon’s Erie-GAINS program led the effort to develop an educational website. Environmental issues is one of the five key components of Erie-GAINS.
Two Gannon faculty members, Ann Bomberger, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, and Michelle Homan, Ph.D, associate professor of environmental science and engineering, have overseen its development and maintenance. Bomberger and Homan serve on the environmental sustainability committee.
Bomberger explained the excellent prospect for students and faculty to make an environmental difference in the community.
“It’s an important opportunity for students to see in real context,” Bomberger said. “It matters to help nonprofit organizations and to perform real public service acts.”
According to an article that appeared in the Erie Times-News, new content will be added to the site by Gannon students. Students will continue to supervise it and an English department work-study student will proceed with updates.
Bomberger said she will build it into her classroom curriculum to illustrate the effects of writing.
Not only is this website trying to gain recognition from the Erie community, but specifically Gannon. Allowing students to be aware of this issue is something Katy Cook, a sophomore physician assistant major, hopes is accomplished.
“I think it’s a great way to bring awareness to Gannon students,” Cook said. “Hopefully it will bring these issues to the surface and have a positive effect on Erie as a whole.”