Sustainability Efforts by UM-Related Institutions
This Michigan college is going green with a recycling program that kicked off with a contest for students to create a logo and a recycling bin facade that shows how the Bulldogs are all about protecting the environment.
Albright's sustainability plan includes a co-generation plant—a combustion turbine that includes a waste-heat recovery boiler and will reduce the campus's carbon footprint by approximately 43 percent, as well as save a projected $450,000 annually in energy costs. The college received an $846,000 grant to build the plant.
Other changes include a new science center designed with the goal of achieving Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The campus uses recycled paper products, green chemicals for cleaning, and has made many other changes to reduce its carbon footprint.
The university is installing more than 2,150 solar photovoltaic panels this summer on six American University buildings. In addition, 174 solar thermal energy panels also will be installed on four campus buildings, providing hot showers to more than 2,000 students living on campus and hot water to the university's largest dining hall. The university already uses wind power for 100 percent of its purchased electricity.
Other plans include creating renewable energy on campus by installing a wind turbine designed by an AU professor and a generator that runs on used cooking oil from the campus dining hall.
The Kansas university was designated a Tree Campus USA when it met five core standards of tree care and community engagement. The designation required a campus tree advisory committee, a tree-care plan; dedicated annual expenditures on the plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body. Baker's sustainability committee has also created a plan to increase recycling, reusing, and regenerating.
Earth We Are, Baker's student-led environmental awareness group, coordinated a trayless cafeteria that has reduced water usage for more than two years.
Bennett College for Women
This historically Black college for women is in the beginning stages of a comprehensive plan for sustainability. This summer, a Bennett student will work with the Environmental Defense Fund to fully assess the entire campus and determine what changes could make the campus greener. Bennett already has a greenhouse and a student-led recycling program, but will consider lighting changes and energy efficiency improvements. The college received a grant from the United Negro College Fund to assist in creating the plan.
Boston University established a $1 million revolving loan fund for sustainability projects, hired a sustainability director and communications specialists, and has created a sustainability committee to create a plan. Projects have been completed or are underway in energy conservation, climate action planning, green building design, waste reduction, and more.
Candler School of Theology
Candler is making significant strides toward being a zero waste school, replacing standard-issue garbage receptacles and recycling bins throughout buildings with specific containers for compostables, white paper, mixed paper, aluminum, plastics 1-6, and landfill items. Candler was one of the first schools on the Emory campus to move toward zero-waste special events. Special events feature compostable serving ware, utensils, and plates, and appropriate recycling bins are in a convenient location at the event site.
Centenary College of Louisiana
A 2010 energy reduction plan will put 10 cents of every dollar saved into a fund to support future sustainability efforts. By end of 2010, the college saved more than $100,000 in energy costs and set aside $10,000 to promote bigger movements toward carbon neutrality. One project is the Sustainability House, a living and learning community that will enable its residents to experience team-taught courses, special events and programs, service-learning and internship opportunities, closer contact with faculty outside of the classroom, and an outreach program to promote sustainable practices on campus, in the local community, and beyond. Other changes include: solar panels on the library, tankless water heaters, and more.
A new residence hall is powered in part by two large photovoltaic solar panels, and another was designed with some of the LEED standards in mind. The campus sustainability efforts developed from a 2007 senior thesis by student Alyssa Borowske titled Cornell College: A Blueprint for Sustainability.This document has become the guide for a more focused effort on creating sustainable systems and practices on campus.
The college recently embarked on a major effort to reduce energy usage across campus and has an on-campus recycling drop-off site.
DePauw University led the way in two categories in the nation's first real-time, nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition, the Campus Conservation Nationals 2010. With a 25.8 percent reduction in electricity use, DePauw University is the top campus reducer, and was also the campus with the greatest total reduction across all participating residence halls (per person). The campus-wide sustainability efforts have included a student-led move to ban plastic water bottles and create "hydration stations." DePauw just received a grant to institute a first-of-its-kind program at an Indiana college, which will place two student "Eco Reps" in each first-year residence hall to connect individual behaviors to environmental stewardship, promote environmentally-sound living, and act as liaisons to the greater DePauw and Greencastle communities.
Drew University's natural forested areas of the campus are critical for migratory birds and groundwater recharge. Through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Jersey Audubon Society, the university has begun to remove non-native species, such as wisteria and bittersweet vines, which are detrimental to the survival of native trees on nearly 10 acres of campus. Once these species are removed, native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns will be planted and allowed to flourish. The native plants will be protected from deer browsing with fencing paid for through a gift from former Madison residents and environmentalists Chris Hepburn and Ken Martin.
Other efforts include seeking out green-certified computers and cleaning products, 10 electric utility vehicles, and vegan and trayless dining.
Duke has 21 LEED-certified green buildings on campus and recently cut campus coal consumption by 70 percent. Coal will be eliminated completely this year through the renovation of two campus steam plants. Alternative transportation options including a free bike-share program, incentives for bike and carpool commuters, and free buses around campus and into downtown Durham.
The Duke Campus Farm is a student-led project to construct a 5-10 acre educational farming facility to increase access to and consumption of local, sustainable, and student-grown food on campus and to provide diverse experiential and academic offerings. Other efforts include a model green dorm room with about 20 sustainable items along with signs accompanying each product and explaining what the item is and how it made the room more sustainable.
An incentives fund grant from Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives assisted in the start up of the student-run Green Bean Coffee Cart that sells coffee from Cafe Campesino, a fair trade and organic coffee roaster in Americus, Ga., in addition to fair trade and organic tea, hot cocoa, and pastries.
Emory aims to reduce waste by 65 percent and recycle 100 percent of its electronics waste and road construction materials. The university is also composting, recycling, or reusing at least 95 percent of its food waste, animal bedding and building construction materials by 2015.
A biomass boiler will reduce energy costs and use by burning waste from the lumber industry as well as locally grown switchgrass and other fuels. The boiler's ventilation system will turn a windmill, and the site will be set up as a laboratory so students can study energy delivery systems and efficiencies. Construction begins this summer. The project creates opportunities for research, experiential learning, and an increased level of student engagement via an on-site classroom, laboratory, and research center. The center will be used by Ferrum students, Franklin County High School students, local and regional farmers and foresters, as well as local and regional biomass fuel distributors. The $5 million project is being funded through donors and estimated energy savings of $250,000 per year.
About 30 percent of the food served in Ferrum's cafeteria is locally grown, with a goal of reaching 50 percent local. Local farmers meet with Ferrum's chef to determine which crops to plant so the college will have the proper vegetables from which to plan meals.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
The seminary is partnering with Indie Energy Smart Geothermal™ to heat Loder and Lesemann Halls by gathering solar energy stored in the earth and cooled by using the ground to remove heat from the buildings. When the project is completed, Loder Hall will have Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification.
Green Mountain College
This small liberal arts college is climate neutral – the second college in the country to achieve that status. Green Mountain met that goal through efficiency, adoption of clean energy, and purchasing of quantifiable local carbon offsets.
The student group SPROUT (Students Proposing Real Options for Underutilized Territory) took charge of an overgrown and unused urban area near campus behind the Hamline United Methodist Church and turned it into a garden, donating the harvest to neighbors and elders living in a local nursing home. The Hamline Undergraduate Student Congress recently purchased a hybrid car. Through the HourCar program, anyone in the Hamline community can buy a membership and use the car for an hourly fee, reducing the need for cars on campus.
The new University Center is being built to LEED silver standards complete with solar panels and a green roof. Other efforts include: recycling old billboards by having a small local company make them into handbags, donating food waste to a local pig farm and composting, a trayless cafeteria, and using electric carts, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles.
Illinois Wesleyan University
Students established a vintage clothing store, PreShrunk. “Clothing can have a huge impact on the environment, whether it is the chemicals used to make the clothes or the growing landfills where people throw away clothes,” said Josh Clouse, an Illinois Wesleyan graduate who helped plan the store.
The university's GREENetwork meets monthly, pulling together more than a dozen members from all aspects of campus life. The network is focusing on communication, composting, carbon-footprint calculation, and recycling education.
Iowa Wesleyan College
The college is decommissioning its central steam boiler system and installing new energy systems through a $4.9 million project. The energy efficiency improvements will reduce Iowa Wesleyan's carbon emissions by more than 1,390,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Savings in energy costs are expected to be more than $400,000 per year.
Geothermal and new ground-source heat pump systems will be installed in three buildings, while local gas fired hot water and steam boilers will be located in eight other buildings. In addition, lighting and occupancy sensors will be placed in several buildings.
The new library – LEED Silver certified – uses recycled and energy-efficient building materials, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, designating parking for carpool and fuel-efficient vehicles, and a rainwater program that has collected more than 10,000 gallons of water for use in campus landscaping. The college received the Energy Star rating from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Oikos Scholars Program provides academic opportunities for students interested in social and ecological responsibility. Efforts to reduce energy usage have included retrofitting existing buildings with energy-efficient windows, motion-activated and low-usage lighting, and state-of-the-art heating and air-conditioning systems. All cleaning products are green-certified and 70 percent of the grounds are maintained organically. Student-run efforts include an organic garden project and a Bike Club that loans bikes to students.
Martin Methodist College
The Pulaski, Tenn., college installed geothermal heating/cooling systems in the new fine arts center and the renovated science building. The fine arts center also features new water-saving technology in the restrooms and discussions have begun about using solar energy technology in the future. The Green Team, a student-staff group arranges lectures and discussion about environmental issues.
A partnership with Ricoh has resulted in a campuswide digital Print-Copy-Scan (PCS) system so employees and students have the option to scan and e-mail documents rather than printing everything to paper. Light bulbs and ballasts, as well as computer monitors, are all recycled.
Stormwater management projects such as rain gardens and swales – shallow, sloping depressions of land – have been incorporated into the landscape to improve drainage and reduce erosion. The campus is working to reduce water usage by 15 percent. The college is taking step to reduce energy usage as well, with energy efficient lightbulbs, a step-boiler that saves energy by producing steam in increments for heat. Non-toxic cleaning products are used whenever possible and recycling containers are available in all buildings.
North Central College
North Central College has pledged to achieve the highest recognition for energy-saving and environmentally friendly initiatives in Illinois by being among the first institutions of higher education to seek gold status under a new Sustainability Compact. North Central's sustainability strategy incorporates alternative transportation, green-friendly buildings and landscaping, commitment and involvement, policies that encourage reducing usage of energy and water, practices that promote recycling and reduce waste, and encourage sustainability in dining hall operations.
Highlights in recent years include a trayless dining hall; community garden; the opening of the Residence Hall/Recreation Center, designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards; the Cardinal Red Bike Program, which makes bicycles available to students on a per-term basis for free; the Zipcar program, which allows students, faculty and staff to reserve a car online or by mobile phone; and implementation of the Cardinal Shuttle to encourage ride-sharing transportation.
Ohio Northern University
Three new wind turbines are producing 5 percent to 10 percent of Ohio Northern's total electricity requirements. The 220-foot turbines were installed after more than a year of research and design work by ONU students Tara Butler, Amy (Friedlein) Pierce, Matthew Pierce, Jack Gaynor, Paul Lewis, Jordan Linebaugh, and Kevin Ring.
Ohio Wesleyan University
The university is completing an energy audit to look for ways to become more environmentally friendly. One project is a “Print Green Initiative,” which involves replacing older, inefficient personal printers with shared multifunction devices able to scan, copy, and fax.
The Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, opened in 2010, uses a geothermal energy system to heat and cool the building along with a heat-recovery system to heat water for the indoor swimming pool. The center has a reflective clay-tile roof and recycled, regional, and low volatile organic chemical building materials. A student project to recycle cell phones may be expanded to include other electronics.
Otterbein University has various energy conservation projects, recycling, and community garden activities. The community garden for local community members, staff, faculty, and students not only grows food, it serves as an outdoor classroom for Otterbein and Westerville City Schools – teaching students about sustainable living and good nutrition through growing their own food. All gardeners donate at least 25 percent of their produce to a local food pantry.
Otterbein competes in Recyclemania, a friendly competition among colleges and universities to increase recycling. Key lighting components are being replaced with energy efficient lighting.
Perkins School of Theology
The new Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall has been registered with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED program with a goal of certified status. Buildings have waterless urinals and high-efficiency toilets, occupancy sensors in many rooms, and new heating and air-conditioning control systems through campuswide Southern Methodist University sustainability initiatives.
The Community Garden provides students an opportunity to learn to garden organically using sustainable irrigation methods in order to build community and provide locally grown food. Produce from the garden is shared by students, staff, faculty, and a local food bank. A team of SMU students received a grant from the university for the purpose of developing a four-week program in partnership with a local elementary school to help educate students about growing their own food, eating healthy foods, and learning healthy recipes.
Six rain gardens, rain barrels, disconnection of downspouts, and a vegetated mound of earth that conceals mechanical equipment and directs drainage are part of a partnership with the City of Lynchburg, Va., to reduce runoff into the sewer system. Rain gardens are strategically placed, depressed areas designed to absorb runoff from downspouts, roofs, walkways, parking lots, and other areas. Rain gardens absorb the runoff by providing a place for stormwater to soak into the ground while absorbing the contaminants and reducing pollution that reaches creeks, streams, and rivers. The gardens also provide habitat for birds and butterflies.
This college preparatory school in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has reduced energy use by replacing incandescent exterior lights and using solar lights in the parking lot. Air conditioning units were replaced to comply with efficiency standards, all windows were sealed and repaired to prevent leakage, and energy efficient appliances were purchased.
The flooring of a new playground and the furniture in a new building are made of recycled materials. Green space has been increased and the use of printed communications with parents and within the administration eliminated. As much as possible, communication is done electronically and is available online. Future plans include the replacement of paper towel dispensers with blowers in all bathrooms.
Rocky Mountain College
The student Environmental Club works with the staff Green Group to promote and maintain the recycling program on campus – which now includes magazines, phone books, plastic, and even electronic waste, in addition to all other types of paper and aluminum cans.
Earth Day is celebrated on campus every year with a campus cleanup, tree planting, and other events designed to raise environmental awareness. More ecological, healthier food choices are offered and energy efficient practices are underway.
Students in the Environmental Science class Sustainable Communities study sustainability and present ideas for projects. One proposal that has been successfully implemented, called the Rocky Rag Pile, collects recyclable and reusable items left in the residence halls. The items are then recycled, given to other students, or donated to a secondhand store.
Southern Methodist University
Programs already underway include green purchasing, recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, improving air quality, LEED certification of one building, and application for certification of others. Future initiatives will seek to ensure that all new building are designed and built in compliance with LEED certification and purchasing electric vehicles for SMU's maintenance fleet. SMU uses wind-generated electricity in the LEED-certified gold Embrey Engineering Building.
In the 2010-2011 academic year SMU held its first-ever carbon neutral football game, and competed in the EPA's game day challenge – collecting more than 300 pairs of shoes. Wearable shoes were given to those in need in Dallas and in Haiti. The rest were ground up and turned into athletic turf.
Southwestern College was selected as recipient of a free wind generator to be installed on campus, and will add a cross-disciplinary sustainability minor to give academic emphasis to this responsible lifestyle. This reflects the college’s mission statement, adopted in 2010, that commits the campus to “live by and teach a sustainable way of life.” That viewpoint has been formally embraced by the college community since 2008, when Southwestern became a charter signatory of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). At that point the college completed a greenhouse gas emission inventory that now serves as a baseline for tracking the institution’s energy consumption.
In August of 2008, a director was hired for a new service learning team, Green Team Southwestern. Since then the Green Team has become the college’s fastest-growing activity (11 new members are expected to enroll in the fall) and is the public face of the college’s sustainability efforts. Southwestern also maintains an off-the-grid field station where its students study ecological issues in an environment that produces its own energy through solar and wind power.
Southwestern University has signed an agreement to get all electricity from wind power for the next 18 years. According to the EPA, that is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 2,000 passenger vehicles per year. The university has two LEED-certified buildings, a trayless cafeteria, and the 2011 graduates were the second class to wear biodegradeable robes. A rainwater collection system to be installed this summer will provide about 40 percent of the water needs of the university's community garden.
The student-athlete advisory committee kicked off the recycling program in August 2010, helping distribute forty recycling bins donated by Athens City Public Works around campus. The 90-gallon bins had been cleaned by a couple of women's soccer players. Staff and faculty purchased smaller office recycling bins for employee offices all over campus that they could empty into the larger bins. In 2011, the women's soccer team took on the role of emptying the large bins in buildings. An average of a ton of material is recycled every four to six weeks.
University of Evansville
The Indiana university won the local RecycleMania completion, collecting 15.45 pounds of waste per student compared to the University of Southern Indiana's 5.64. The University of Evansville also placed first in the state of Indiana, nineteenth among 288 schools nationwide in the competition division, and twenty-ninth of 630 schools in all divisions. The campus has two LEED-certified buildings. Ninety-nine percent of campus lighting fixtures are energy efficient (compact fluorescent, LED, equipped with motion sensors, etc.) Food service: most produce and milk come from local sources, and some beef and pork are bought locally.
University of Puget Sound
The university's Live Green House, completed in August 2008, was stripped to its frame and rebuilt using lumber, tiles, paint, and insulation derived from sustainable sources. Solar heating, low-flow showerheads, and Energy Star-rated appliances were installed, as well as a rain garden to collect water for irrigation. The Gold LEED certified house is now a kind of laboratory for sustainable living. Over time more of the university's houses will be renovated to the same standard.
Student-led initiatives include fair trade coffee, a student garden, a Student Market where knitters, growers, artists, bakers, and other student artisans can sell their goods to other students and campus members, and a campaign to eliminate plastic water bottles.
Green practices guide campus construction and renovation projects at the Salem, Ore., campus, including the recently completed student residential hall, awarded LEED Goldcertification, and a new academic building under construction, slated for LEED Gold. Energy management systems have been implemented in campus buildings with a goal of cutting energy consumption in half by 2020.
Electric cars and hybrids are replacing the gas-dependent vehicle fleet and a campus Bike Shop, staffed by student volunteers, offers free bike loans. Lawns are fertilized with compost tea, native plants reduce the need for water and chemicals, most weeds are hand-pulled rather than sprayed, and leftover garden debris provides compost for community gardens.
The Willamette food service partners with local farms, ranches, and fisheries to offer organic, hormone-free, sustainably produced food. Cooking oil is recycled, food leftovers are given to local ranchers, and disposable tableware is made from sugarcane or recycled paper.
Wofford College has a LEED-certified building, the Goodall Environmental Studies Center, which uses 32 percent less energy annually than average buildings of the same size and type. It uses 45 percent less potable, or tap, water than comparable buildings, and the center also uses non-potable water – water from Lawson's Fork Creek – for toilet flushing, and it uses stored rainwater instead of tap water for irrigation.
In 2010, Wofford commissioned a water and energy audit of campus, leading to a variety of recommendations regarding the college's efforts toward a carbon-neutral future. The first of those implemented was the replacement of 150 high intensity discharge (HID) “acorn” outdoor lamps with the latest LED energy-saving technology.
Wofford will graduate its first full class of environmental studies majors in May 2011.