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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    West Apartments: An Environmental Outrage?

    A few lonely oaks linger on the ravaged hillside. The tree-clearing bulldozers sit silent in the rain, the runoff pouring through the construction fences to a murky pond below.’

    “It’s like they snuck in and did it overnight.’ I didn’t hear anything about it, I can’t believe it!” This comment I remember from last spring reflects a continued disgust and disapproval for the construction underway behind the undergraduate apartments. ‘ All UGA residents have passed the “STOP KILLING TREES!” graffiti emblazoned on a construction authority trailer, and some have likely nodded their heads in approval.

    Let’s stop for a minute, though, and think beyond the undeniably unsightly mess we’re living near now. Conserving the environment is rarely a straightforward, easily accomplished goal. It’s important to remember that Campus Residences’ job is neither to preserve nor to destroy Stony Brook’s open spaces, but to meet the growing need for on-campus housing. This is not to say that the West Apartments should not have been designed in a more environmentally responsible way.’ Taller buildings, less lawn space, and a multilevel parking garage all would have allowed more forest to be saved while providing an even greater number of beds.

    But with higher education’s unending budget limitations, we must face reality-the cost would have been substantially higher. And so, to anyone outraged by the ongoing construction, I say this: on-campus housing is good for the environment.’

    Though West Apartment residents may own cars, they primarily walk and bike to class. Those 672 new beds, as much as we may miss the forest they’re replacing, will mean hundreds fewer cars on Nicholls Road in the morning, less automobile exhaust and burning of fossil fuels and less demand for new housing construction-and thus habitat destruction-in surrounding Suffolk county.

    Environmentally, the West Apartments represent a reasonable compromise.

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