Attainable Sustainable

Attainable Sustainable is Saint Joseph's program to promote sustainable practices and instill a stewardship ethic on campus. In 2007, Dr. Jeanne Gulnick, an environmental sciences professor, became the campus sustainability coordinator and started to recruit student Eco-Reps, analyze the College's energy use, increase recycling efforts and more. Now Eco-Reps in each residence hall help to educate students about environmental ethics and actions.

Attainable sustainable logo at Saint Joseph's College

Sustainability Steering Committee Initiates Tar Sands Petition

The Saint Joseph’s College Sustainability Committee remains committed to setting an example of environmentally sensitive and sustainable practices by our own actions and by supporting our community through outreach and providing our expertise and resources. Local concerns include the threat of a spill in the Sebago Watershed that would dramatically impact the foundation of our economy and our quality of life. We stand in solidarity with the citizens of South Portland who are working to develop a waterfront protection ordinance specific to tar sands and to develop a feasible plan for the economic growth and prosperity of their community. Read Petition.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability involves living in such a way that the needs of all people on this planet can be met – without compromising the ability of future generations to have their needs met. It means using resources responsibly, minimizing pollution and caring for the ecosystems that support us and the millions of other species who call Earth home.

How does sustainability fit in at Saint Joseph's College?

Living sustainably is directly in keeping with our College mission statement and our core values. Sustainability is also increasingly important to the Catholic Church and the Sisters of Mercy.

What are we doing to become more sustainable on campus?

  • In October 2012, President James Dlugos signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment ( This provides a framework and sets benchmarks for our campus reaching carbon neutrality. Carbon neutrality refers to no net greenhouse gas emissions achieved through minimizing emissions, increasing renewable energy sources, and using carbon offsets or other means to mitigate emissions. The commitment involves developing a comprehensive plan and mechanism to guide it, completing a greenhouse gas inventory and initiating some corrective actions even before the final plan is developed.
  • We require all students to take Ecology and Environmental Challenge, a four-credit course that focuses on sustainability issues and gives students the tools and awareness necessary to be better global citizens.
  • Take Back the Tap education initiative to reduce use of bottled water (less use of petroleum-based plastic)
  • Single-stream recycling bins put on campus and recycling bins in each student room
  • Green design of proposed Mercy Hall renovations to LEED standards
  • Composting (food waste is given to local farms or used at Pearson's Town Farm)
  • Reducing food waste via trayless dining (students take only what they can eat)
  • Green Move Out to promote recycling when students move out of the dorms each May.
  • Use of green cleaning products

To learn more about campus sustainability, read the interview with Jeanne Gulnick.


Grant to cut energy use teams college with community

The Dorr Foundation has awarded Saint Joseph's a $23,550 grant to help monitor energy use more closely on campus, and also partner with students in a nearby community to monitor, calculate and reduce energy use at their school and homes.

Campus sustainability coordinator Jeanne Gulnick will train five seventh-grade math and science teachers at Windham Middle School about how to install meters that measure energy use in classrooms and in their students' homes. The grant will also connect the math and science students at the middle school with Saint Joseph's mentors – student Eco-Reps and students enrolled in the Ecology and the Environmental Challenge course on campus. In all, roughly 225 middle school students and 270 Saint Joseph's students will be involved. Read the full story in the SJC Magazine.