At Saint Joseph’s, sustainability is expressed as a deep respect for the earth through daily practices, decision making, and stewardship in a healthy and equitable way so that communities now and in the future can thrive. Building and modeling sustainability practices on our campus cultivates an ethic of sustainability among our graduates and the broader campus community.
CLIMATE ACTION AND SUSTAINABILITY PLAN
What is the College doing to become more sustainable on campus?
As a reflection of the College’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, President James Dlugos signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. He appointed a committee comprising of faculty and staff to:
- Perform a College-wide sustainability assessment using the AASHE STARS standard and
- Develop a sustainability plan, greenhouses gas inventory and mechanism to guide progress.
2017— Saint Joseph’s College has earned a STARS Silver rating from theAssociation for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in recognition of campus-wide sustainability achievements. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures sustainability performance in all institutional areas. More than 400 institutions have earned a STARS rating, making AASHE’s STARS program the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning, and administration as well as innovation and leadership. Saint Joseph’s first participation in the STARS reporting earned the College a Bronze rating in 2013.
In 2015, the College adopted a comprehensive Climate Action and Sustainability Plan, which provides a framework to establish benchmarks, develop goals, and monitor progress toward carbon neutrality on campus. The goal of the plan is to reduce our net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to zero.
The plan provides a framework to establish benchmarks, develop goals and monitor progress for our campus reaching carbon neutrality – no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This will be achieved through minimizing emissions, increasing renewable energy sources, and using carbon offsets or other means to mitigate emissions.
Towards a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2036
The 2015 Climate Action and Sustainability Plan, Attainable Sustainable, serves as our road map. It guides action and establishes goals that reinforce and build upon key strategic areas of the College’s strategic plan, such as building a diverse, multigenerational learning community; ensuring financial stability; and stewarding the campus environment.
The Plan outlines 10 domains of sustainability. Each domain includes current practices, goals and strategies, and metrics.
The College now proudly stands with nearly 700 other institutions in their pledge to Carbon Neutrality.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Saint Joseph’s has prepared three greenhouse gas inventories, one in 2009, 2013, and now updated in 2015, accounting for major sources of GHG emissions in order to understand the College’s footprint.
The GHG inventory for 2015 resulted in a total of 3,915 MT eCO2 (1.38 MT eCO2 per FTE student or 8.7 MT eCO2/1,000 square feet of building space). Composting activities reduced emissions by 9MT eCO2 (0.2 percent).
CLIMATE ACTION AND SUSTAINABILITY PLAN GOALS
Our plan outlines practices, strategies, and metrics for meeting eco-conscious objectives.
We will create a comprehensive, campus-wide purchasing policy for cleaning products, paper products, print cartridges, and electronics with a preference for inclusive and local products and services. In addition, the plan calls to incorporate sustainability into all campus tours and all admission materials.
The plan calls for achieving Green Restaurant Association certification by 2019 and developing a Sustainability Certificate Program by 2020.
Yes, to engage at least 75% of faculty and staff in health and wellness programming by 2020.
The College will promote and deploy five projects from the Green Revolving Fund.
Green Revolving Fund (GRF)
The Green Revolving Fund (GRF) is an investment fund that finances energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction, and other sustainability projects on campus, including waste reduction. The Fund provides capital for special projects conducted by Facilities that reduce environmental impact and can repay the fund with cost-savings within seven years.
The mission of the Green Revolving Fund is to encourage environmentally sound technologies and practices on campus. The fund will further the broader academic mission of the College while helping it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and embody the College’s values. The Green Revolving Fund will function as an independent fiscal entity managed by the Sustainability Task Force. The Fund will grow over time by collecting cost-savings from the projects it funds and reinvesting them in new projects, while offering opportunities for engagement and hands-on learning for the College community.
Green Community Fund
A percentage of savings from the Green Revolving Fund energy efficiency projects at the College are being allocated to the Green Community Fund. The Fund will:
- Focus on smaller projects that may have longer payback timeframes, or even no financial payback, but that will foster sustainability awareness among members of the College.
- Community and empower them to develop their own solutions.
- Consider projects proposed by College community members that promote sustainability in education, campus culture, and behavior.
- Consider project ideas from all areas of campus, including academic courses, independent student research, student organizations, and academic departments.
- Award money that does not necessarily require repayment.
Do you have a sustainability project idea or solution that you or a team would like to implement? Submit a project idea to the Sustainability Task Force by emailing Kimberly Post.
GET INVOLVED & TAKE ACTION
Learn how you can make a difference, both as an individual and as part of a campus sustainability group.
The Sustainability Task Force is charged for a two-year period to serve as the governing body responsible for Attainable Sustainable, the College’s sustainability program, and for ensuring ongoing improvement of the initiative through a closed loop methodology that consists of these key functions: (Re)assess, Plan, Implement, and Measure. The Task Force serves as a platform to guide and endorse initiatives that surface in various departments, divisions, and on the Task Force level, and to provide strategies and recommendations to institutionalize sustainability practices into operations, planning and policy, and education and engagement.
The E-Team is a group of dedicated faculty and staff that collaborates to educate campus community members on relevant sustainability issues and provides a platform for engagement in sustainability-related projects and practices linked to the 2016 Climate Action and Sustainability Plan. Additionally, the Team organizes campaigns and projects to foster environmental awareness in the College community. A liaison from the Sustainability Task Force will participate on the E-Team to facilitate communication and collaboration.
Are you a faculty or staff member interested in getting involved in Attainable Sustainable? Email Kimberly Post.
The mission of the EcoReps is to serve as peer educators to raise awareness on sustainability issues ranging from waste reduction and diversion, energy efficiency and conservation, to health and well-being, water conservation, and more. EcoManagers are paid student positions who educate in the residence halls by encouraging and promoting sustainable behavior changes while leading entrepreneurial projects, events, and competitions. There are six EcoManagers positions and a rotating number of EcoReps who volunteer and learn with their peers. There is an open door for more EcoReps to join throughout the semester.
Are you a student interested in getting involved in the EcoRep program? Email Kimberly Post.
The Waste Management Team exists to create and implement policies, infrastructure, and behaviors from stakeholders across campus to minimize waste and environmental impact while maximizing efficiency by overseeing the implementation of relevant goals from the 2016 Climate Action and Sustainability Plan. Consisting of students, faculty, and staff, members of the Waste Management Team represent diverse perspectives from across campus life to further integrate efficiency and diversion practices and behaviors at Saint Joseph’s College. A liaison from the Waste Management Team meets regularly with the Sustainability Task Force to ensure appropriate communication and collaboration.
Are you a SJC community member interested in getting involved in the Waste Management Team? Email Don Tanguay
- Recycle! SJC’s recycling is single stream, so you can mix a wide variety of materials together. Check out recycling guidelines.
- Compost. Use compost stations in the dining hall and around campus to dispose of food waste, tissues, napkins and paper. Adding compost improves the soil without chemical fertilizers.
- Print wisely! Print less and double-sided when possible.
- Don’t use halogen light bulbs! LEDs use much less energy.
- Hibernate your computer! Turn off printer, monitor, etc., when not in use.
- Walk, bike and carpool! Drive less, save $$, get more fit and have more fun!
- Take shorter showers! You save water and energy that it takes to heat it.
- Power down. Don’t leave TV, music, lights and games running when you leave a room.
- Carry a water bottle. Our tap water comes directly from Sebago Lake and is purified with minimal chlorination.
- Wash clothes in cold water. Wash full loads only and when possible hang your clothes on a rack to dry.
- Buy green/local products and food. Look for products made with recycled materials and/or those that will last for years.
- Use fewer paper napkins. Large handfuls are unnecessary to clean your hands.
- Buy second-hand or trade! Check out your local Goodwill store.
- Clean green. Avoid chlorine bleach, ammonia, and other toxic cleaning products.
IN THE CLASSROOM AND COMMUNITY
Sustainable Communities Initiative
The College is embarking on the Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI), based on University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities program. The initiative leverages the skills, knowledge, and capacity of students and faculty through classes, courses, and research to address sustainability issues for local organizations. From environmental action to economic viability and social integrity, this partnership allows students to engage with real-world problem solving to gain practical skills while also providing needed support to nearby communities.
Courses with Sustainability Focus
Ecology and the Environmental Challenge (ES300): Established in 2002 as a Core Course, nearly every student is required to take this introductory course. Students explore how natural systems work, food systems and agricultural practices, energy processes, everyday activities, the social dimensions of population, global cooperation and solutions, behavior change, and systems-level problem solving.
Sustainability Studies is an interdisciplinary minor. Required courses include Ecology and the Environment, Social Problems, and a Natural Science Internship, along with elective courses ranging from Climate Change and Glacial Geology to Business Ethics, Environmental Psychology, and Theology. Most courses have a community-based learning requirement.
Campus Sustainability Memberships
- Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS a program of aashe)
- Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
- Second Nature’s President’s Carbon Commitment
- Green Campus Consortium of Maine
Mission Driven Sustainability
Living sustainably is directly in keeping with our College’s mission statement and our core values. Specifically, the mission calls for “advocate for justice and peace in recognition of each person’s responsibility for the welfare of both humankind and the environment.” Sustainability is closely interwoven with all of our core values and our Sustaining the Promise Strategic Plan.