SHU's Sustainability Achievements and Future Plans
List of Achievements
List of Future Plans
- In June 2019, we succeeded to submit our first report to The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) thanks to the diligent work of our sustainability interns during the last 3 years. After a review of our report, we were awarded with the STARS Bronze certification. The full report was published on the STARS website and can be accessed here.
- SHU joined the PurpleAir air quality network:
- Our President signed a Letter to President Trump and Members of United States Congress to reassert U.S. leadership in the global effort to address climate change. Link to PDF.
- More efficient recycling especially in academic buildings. We created new recycling signs and labeled nearly 100 assorted containers on the Adrian campus. Most of our 20 large blue totes are filled each month.
- The website of the Sustainable College Committee: http://sustainability.sienaheights.edu provides comprehensive information about SHU’s sustainability activities and background information.
- We created a SHU Sustainability Guide (available at: http://sustainability.sienaheights.edu/sustainability-guide.html) to promote sustainable practices on campus beyond recycling. In Fall 2015, we handed out more than 300 copies to the incoming freshman. We plan to review this guide during this semester and reformat it as a website.
- The Sustainable College Committee took on the organization of The William Issa Endowment Speaker Series. We hosted the Aquinas College’s Director of Sustainability, Jessica Eimer Bowen, Stanford’s Environmental Engineer Mark Z. Jacobson, Oberlin College’s Environmental Studies Professor David Orr, the University of Louisville’s Director of Sustainability Justin Mog, and Columbia University’s Anthony M. Annett, recommended by his eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Besides the speeches, we also organized receptions, breakfasts, lunches, and dinner events to promote further dialogue. This is a form of community outreach.
- In 2014, the Sustainable College Committee developed a comprehensive Strategic Planning Proposal asking SHU to invest into a membership with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), subscription to the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), and funds to attend AASHE conferences and organize a faculty workshop on the SHU campus. Our proposal was not successful but in 2016, SHU joined AASHE, initially for 2 years. We have now access to many best-practice resources and can compete for grants (AASHE).
- SHU invested in developing an energy masterplan and audit. This project is managed by our committee member Brian Bertram. Results are expected in June.
- We began to collect data for a STARS baseline of SHU in the areas of engagement, academics, and operations. Students are directly involved in this data collection and earn credit hours or accomplish an internship while collecting, entering and analyzing sustainability data.
- Our committee member Tom Wassmer started an Environmental Documentary Series to educate students, SHU employees and local community members in environmental issues. In March 2017, we are starting the 3rd season and Tom Wassmer will expand the program to become a new Liberal Arts Studies 441 course focusing on Environmental Justice. While we expect more students to attend the course for credit, the public will still be able to attend the showings and discussions. This is a great example of community outreach.
- The Sustainable College Committee plans to work closer together with the Green Light student club.
- Our committee member Jun Tsuji created a pollinator garden with a composting bin and rain barrel to establish the SHU campus as a living demonstration lab of sustainability. It is planned to add nest aids for native pollinators once the plantings are established.
- Environmental informational booklet developed and presented to freshmen during welcome week.
List of Future Plans
- Together with the Permaculture Office of the ADS Campus, the Sustainable College Committee and the Social Responsibility Committee plan to compost all pre-consumer food scraps from the Chartwells kitchen with plans to extend this to include select parts of the post-consumer waste.
- We hope to adopt the same lawncare practices used on the ADS campus, which achieve a very pleasant appearance without using any herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.
- We hope to convert more lawn areas to prairies and other communities of native plants to attract endangered native pollinators.
- We hope to either end the use of driveway and parking lot sealants (blacktops) or switch from the highly cancerous and toxic coal tar sealant that is banned in many progressive municipalities such as Ann Arbor to the less toxic asphalt sealant.
- We are trying to find a sponsor to donate solar roof panels to SHU. One model that was suggested to us by the Catholic Climate Covenant would repay the donor inn less than 10 years with the money saved on our energy bill, while the donor could still declare the remaining donation as a tax write-off. Solar rooftops would not only save SHU money and reduce SHU’s carbon footprint, it would also set a clear and visible signal to the Adrian and Lenawee County community.