Attainable Sustainable is the St. Joe'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 school's energy use, increase recycling efforts, and more.
Now eco-reps in each residence hall help to educate students about
environmental ethics and actions.
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?
- On April 6, 2009, President Joe Lee signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/), which provides a framework and sets benchmarks toward 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 bin put on campus and recycling bins in each student room
- Green design of proposed Center for the Study of Environmental Sciences
- Composting (food waste is given to local farms or used on campus garden)
- 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
Tips on how you can make an impact
- A full bath tub requires 30-70 gallons of water. By taking a five minute shower, you can reduce the amount of water used to 15-20 gallons.
- Take your old computer, DVD player, or other electronics to a recycling center to prevent hazardous substances from contaminating a landfill.
- Leave your car at home twice a week to reduce over 1,500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year!
- Keep your refrigerator full. Believe it or not, food retains cold better than air does, so a near-empty fridge is working much harder to cool its contents.
- Avoid reusing common plastic bottles for your own safety. Constant refilling breaks the plastic down and causes dangerous chemicals to leach in to your water.
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 7th-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.