Gettysburg College has been home to successful recycling programs since the early 1980s. Since then, the College has won national and regional awards for its recycling program. To increase the ease of recycling, Gettysburg College has recently switched to a single-stream recycling program. This system allows for increased convenience, as it is no longer necessary to sort between aluminum, paper, glass, and plastic recycling bins. Additionally, each student residence is equipped with trash cans and recycling bins for increased student accessibility. In addition to this, items not included in single-stream recycling may be recycled in designated locations across campus. Gettysburg has conveniently located areas on campus to recycle batteries, printer cartridges, used cell phones, old computer hardware, and more! To learn more about Gettysburg’s recycling initiatives, click here.
Every year, during the week of Earth Day, Thiel College hosts their “Earth Week”. Students have the opportunity to participate in environmental service projects across campus and listen to distinguished environmental-care speakers. This year, one of the speakers is Dr. John Roemer, whose work concerns distributive justice, political economy, and the relationship between them. Another speaker is: Dr. Patrick Applegate, who is an Earth scientist with interests in ice sheets and their contributions to sea level rise, methods for estimating the ages of glacial deposits, and the application of statistical methods to problems in the geosciences. The last speaker is Dr. Feng He, whose research focuses on climate sensitivity and the global carbon cycle. Students will also have an opportunity to plant trees around campus and to view a documentary, “Comfort Zone”, which features a unique approach to creating dialogue about climate change.
Carthage College practices sustainability by choosing to renovate and build with sustainable building materials. Carthage installs bamboo flooring instead of hardwood flooring, and has chosen this environmentally friendly hardwood alternative since 2001. Bamboo is a renewable resource: Bamboo grass takes only five years to grow to maturity. Other floors at Carthage are Forbo Marmoleum. Marmoleum is made with natural ingredients, contains no harmful VOCs or other toxic chemicals, and is installed with solvent-free adhesives or no adhesive at all. It has no adverse health effects during production, installation, use or disposal, and has been certified as a sustainable product. Furniture in residence halls is made from sustainable plantation-grown wood, not primary first-growth timber or non-plantation grown teak. Also, 50 percent of the turf on Art Keller Field is made with recycled material. For more information about Carthage’s sustainable building practices, click here.
In an effort to reduce the waste associated with move-out this semester, Luther Sustainability has partnered with several Decorah-area organizations to decrease waste and give back to the community. Starting the Friday before finals there will be a clearly marked donation room in each residence hall where students can donate unwanted items. Furniture, clothing, laundry detergent, rugs, working electronics, and posters or other reusable room decorations will all be donated to local thrift shops. The Decorah First Lutheran Food Pantry will receive all unopened non-perishable food. Redeemable glass containers will also be collected, with all money to benefit the a local organization that assists people with disabilities called the Spectrum Network. The goal is that the only things going in the dumpsters are items not able to be repurposed or reused. Helpers will staff waste stations near residence halls three times each day from Wednesday to Sunday during finals week to assist with waste diversion and answer questions about what can and cannot be donated. For more information on Luther’s waste-reduction initiatives, click here.
Wittenberg College has hosted a series of speakers for students, faculty, staff, and the community of Sprigfield to attend this past year. According to Nancy Flinchbaugh, the series coordinator: “The series is the result of a group of Springfield citizens coming together with the feeling of “we need to do something” just after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” Themes for this year focus on community-based research and outreach conducted by Wittenberg scientists and students, which support sustainable decision making for the local area.The Global Education series provides exposure to other cultures and world events to increase understanding and hopefully encouraging respect of the current issues. Topics that have been addressed in the 2016 Spring Semester include: “Wittenberg Forges New Ground with Collaborative Sustainability Efforts”, “An Indian/Hindu Perspective on Earth Issues: Deforestation, Pollution and Hope”, “Climate Change and the Global Community: What’s Happening and What Can We Do? A Muslim Perspective”, and “Community Efforts to Cultivate the Earth in South Springfield”. For more information on this series and the speakers, click here.
The Roanoke College Garden Club recently relocated the campus garden to a location that is in a more central place on campus. The garden’s new location yielded an excellent harvest this past summer, and the club, with 10 members, is well on its way to creating a wonderful space for the College community. The new garden, 70 feet-by-100 feet, has 13 raised beds. Rather than filling up the garden with more planting space, the next project will incorporate a path that circles the garden.After the path is finished, the club intends to install benches, with room to seat at least 20 people, and compost bins. These projects, slated for next winter, would ideally provide a perfect spot for faculty to bring their classes on beautiful days or for the campus community to relax outdoors when warmer weather returns.The club’s goal for the new space is simple – create a garden over which the campus feels ownership. For more information on this project, how it came about, and who is involved, click here.
Roanoke College has a new housing community for students who are interested in saving the environment and have a passion for sustainability. Roanoke’s Residence Life and Housing department used information from a survey that was conducted regarding students’ satisfaction with on campus life, Ruel said. What she and others found was that students wanted a more environmentally sustainable presence on campus. In addition to the new eco house, Ruel started an Eco Rep program with Roanoke students last fall. The program is a branch of the College’s Neighborhood Council, which includes student representatives from the residence halls on campus.The eco reps meet bimonthly to discuss environmental-related activities that they can incorporate into their respective residence areas. Ruel said she hopes that the Eco House and Eco Rep program will create avenues for students to have more discussions on campus about sustainability. For more information on these efforts, click here.
Wartburg College offers their graduating senior students the opportunity to sign a sustainability pledge. This is a pledge that Wartburg encourages all seniors to take as they venture forward into the working world. This pledge is a promise that students will be citizens of the earth, meaning they will take responsibility in caring for the earth in their future careers. In this pledge, the student promises to recycle when they can, be conscious of the footprint they leave on the earth, and to leave the environment as clean if not cleaner than they arrived. Students who take this pledge will receive a pin to wear underneath their gown during graduation and will be recognized during the ceremony by Wartburg President Colson or Wartburg Dean Ernsting. The pledge reads as follows: “I pledge to take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work.” To read more about the pledge and other Wartburg Sustainability efforts, click here.
Muhlenberg College students have compiled a Guide to Sustainability at Muhlenberg. This guide book provides extensive details for students, faculty, and staff about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle in the dorm room and classroom, how to practice sustainable housekeeping, how to “be green” off campus, recycling guidelines on campus, where to recycle electronics, different clubs and organizations that promote sustainability, classroom tips for professors, how to make sustainable food choices, how to study in a sustainable way, sustainable transportation, and more. To view this guide, click here.
California Lutheran University students will hold a die-in, which involves people lying down together in public to simulate their deaths, in order to raise awareness about climate-related threats as world leaders meet at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Students in Victor Thasiah’s Religion and Power class are planning the die-in as an experiential-learning project to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on the planet, people and pocketbooks, including issues related to biodiversity and ecosystems. They are inviting other students, faculty ,and staff to join them by wearing green shirts and lying down with them. They want to force people to think about the issues by impeding pedestrian traffic through the academic spine of the campus between classes. For more information about this event, click here.
A grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources allowed Luther College and the Decorah Raptor Resource Project to build an autumn migration banding station on campus, giving students unprecedented direct access to wildlife and conversation research.The banding station, located on Hawk Hill on the northeast edge of the Luther campus, is large enough for classes to observe wild birds, band them and gather data before releasing them back into the wild.
As part of the partnership, RRP hired six Luther College students as interns for the fall semester to learn field and research techniques for trapping and banding wild hawks. The banding station also opens an opportunity for Luther students to interact with students in the Decorah Community School District. When a live bird is banded and school is in session, Luther can contact local schools and take the bird to the school to give a demonstration. To read more about this project, click here.
Muhlenberg College, Luther College, Wartburg College, Wittenberg College, and Pacific Lutheran University were all recently included in the Sierra Club’s 2017 List of “Cool Schools”. The national assessment pulls data from STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System), a program run by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Information submitted to AASHE was used and scored across 61 questions from the STARS assessment, in addition to a supplemental question about fossil fuel investments. The Sierra Club used STARS reports to compile the list. To view the complete list of schools click here.
Gettysburg College has been pursuing sustainable decision making for over three decades. As the world’s environmental issues grow more and more severe, the college has increased its commitment to sustainability. In practice, this commitment entails working to enhance and protect the environment through teaching, research, service, operations, decision-making, and other aspects of life on campus. Gettysburg College, as a sustainable campus, is addressing all three pillars of sustainability. Environmentally, the College works to reduce and eliminate its ecological footprint; economically, it makes purchases and investments within budgetary constraints; and socially, the college is increasing awareness about educational, emotional, and physical needs. To learn more about Gettysburg’s sustainability program and efforts click here.
A story in the Star Tribune newspaper highlights how St. Olaf College’s 350 acres of natural lands not only serve as a hands-on learning laboratory for students, but also play an important role in conservation efforts for native species like the bluebird. “The 143-year-old Lutheran college is part of a greater survival story to rebuild Eastern bluebird populations that had declined in the 1960s and ’70s due to loss of savanna – their preferred habitat – and competition from nonnative birds,” notes Star Tribune writer Shannon Prather. Since 1989 the college has conducted extensive natural habitat restoration projects on hundreds of acres of land it owns adjacent to the campus. This includes a bluebird trail comprised of 64 specially designed birdhouses through woodlands and prairies. For more information on St. Olaf’s natural lands, click here.
A recent community tree planting event was a huge success. More than 60 students, faculty, and staff helped plant trees on the east side of campus. With shovels and good spirits, the campus community jumped into the tree planting project Oct. 14.
Overcrowded and diseased trees just south of the high tunnel garden near the soccer fields were removed last spring. They were replaced with 52 trees — each more than 8 feet tall. Volunteers, organized through the Student Environmental Alliance, were given a tutorial on tree planting by college horticulturalist Jerry Raguse before getting to work. “I’m amazed so many people would come out on a cold Saturday morning to plant trees,” says Haylee Worm ’19, organizer and SEA co-chair. “It is cool that there are so many different groups of people here that have a passion for the environment. It really demonstrates that they do care.”
Through Green Thread, Capital University’s environmental sustainability platform, innovative and efficient solutions are brought to life. Green Thread helps employees and customers minimize environmental impacts in their operations and in their communities. Green Thread places special emphasis on responsible sourcing, waste minimization, efficient operations, and transportation management. Green Thread also measures the university’s impact, holds them accountable, and enables continuous improvement.
Put on a youth program about Trash!
How well do you know your trash? How can your youth group become more eco-friendly on the congregational level?
Lutherans Restoring Creation and Lutheran Community Foundation (now InFaith Community Foundation) worked together to provide an exhibit about Trash at the National Youth Gathering.
Would you like to host a similar exhibit in your home congregation?
Use our Know No Trash Manual as a launching off point (this PDF can also be downloaded from the bottom of this page).
Movies about Trash
Additional Resources to explore your human footprint