Nineteen students from 13
foreign countries and the United States learned about some post environmental stewardship
efforts during a visit to Fort Riley July 21.
The students were part of a
European Student Leaders Summer Institute program being conducted for five
weeks at Kansas State University. The program is sponsored jointly by the U.S.
State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchange and the Fullbright
participating in this year’s summer program represented Belgium,
Greenland/Denmark, Iceland, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal,
Spain, Romania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Their look at U.S. environmental
issues and improvement programs brought them to KSU two weeks ago. They have
two more weeks at KSU and will then wrap up their summer with a week in
Fort Riley’s role in this
year’s institute was to show the students how the post works to protect and
enhance the natural environment of the installation’s training and cantonment
areas and its hazardous waste management and recycling programs.
British Army Brigadier
Christoper Ghika, 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding general for readiness,
greeted the university students majoring in environmental science and assured
them that their field is something taken very seriously at Fort Riley.
Ghika is serving with the
U.S. Army’s 1st Inf. Div. as part of a two-year military officer exchange
program between the U.S. and the United Kingdom armies.
Garrison Commander Col.
Andrew Cole, Jr., followed Ghika’s explanation of the 1st Infantry Division’s military
organization and missions with some specific information about the
environmental efforts on the post.
“Fort Riley has 30
buildings that are (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified,
Cole said. Buildings that earn LEED certification have incorporated best-in-class
building strategies and practices to optimize energy efficiency.
One way to optimize that
efficiency, Cole explained, is by providing each building manager phone apps
that allow them to remotely adjust building temperatures depending on building
occupancy. Temperatures can be raised or lowered depending on the comfort needs
of people in the buildings or when the buildings are vacant.
He also pointed out one
effort at energy conservation mounted solar panels onto a large carport’s roof
as a way to generate efficient energy for the nearby building.
Using state of the art
HUMVEE, Abrams tank, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and helicopter simulators
for early stages of training reduces damage to Fort Riley’s training terrain,
Cole said. That also saves the fuel needed to power vehicles and cuts down on
fuel emissions and wear and tear on the vehicles themselves, he added.
Garrison Command Sergeant
Major Jason Schmidt fielded one student’s question about expended ammunition
casings, saying Fort Riley recovers those expended casings and turns them in
for reuse by the Army.
Residential recycling is an
“opt-in” program at Fort Riley. Cole
said in response to a student’s question about whether recycling was mandatory on
Commanders, however, can
order recycling in their unit and an installation program gives monetary
rewards to units turning in the most recyclables, he said. Unit commanders can
use those monetary rewards for activities to improve soldier morale.
The ultimate goal at Fort Riley is to manage the post’s
environmental impact in such a way as “to enhance Fort Riley for the Army …
There has been an evolving environmental ethos in the Army. We now realize that
what we do on Fort Riley not only affects soldiers training today but soldiers
and families here in the future,” summarized Herb Abel, head of the Environmental
Division in the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Riley.