Muhlenberg College has been recognized as a top performer in the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, receiving a score of 100 percent for best practices in the area of water conservation. The College tied for the fourth spot among all higher education institutions nationally for water conservation and reuse, as well as effective rainwater management practices.
A publication from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities overall and in 17 impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Last winter Muhlenberg received a STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements, the highest level of recognition received by any Lehigh Valley higher education institution, for five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation and leadership.
In the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, the College was recognized for a 52 percent reduction in water usage over five years. Campus landscape initiatives included eliminating water hoses and favoring native plants and hearty grasses. The plant operations department also decentralized the boiler plant. The campus’s multiple new boilers use less water and are more efficient, leaky pipes are no longer in use, and an organic water softener additive enables water to be reused in the boiler system, mitigating issues with Allentown’s hard water.
Students have been part of Muhlenberg’s water conservation efforts. “Our students have been involved in water reductions through peer-to-peer advocacy,” says Kalyna Procyk, sustainability coordinator and an adjunct professor of sustainability studies. “They’ve led residence hall programs to encourage shorter showers, turning off the water when brushing teeth and reporting leaks.”
“We are happy to recognize Muhlenberg College for its leadership in advancing sustainability,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “I’m grateful for the work being done by this institution to help move society toward a more equitable and sustainable future.”
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