Attainable Sustainable is Saint Joseph's program to promote environmental practices and instill a stewardship ethic on campus.

In 2007, Dr. Jeanne Gulnick, an environmental sciences professor, became the campus's first sustainability coordinator and started to recruit student Eco-Reps, analyze the College's energy use, and increase recycling efforts, among other initiatives. Now there are Eco-Reps in each residence hall who help 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 enjoy these same privileges. 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's 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" is an educational initiative on campus that promotes using refillable containers for drinks in place of bottled water (to use less of the petroleum-based plastic).
  • Single-stream recycling bins are installed on campus and each student's room comes equipped with recycling bins.
  • Mercy Hall renovations are being planned with a green design in mind that meets LEED standards.
  • Composting is utilized by Dining Services, with the resulting food waste given to neighboring farms or used at Pearson's Town Farm as a way to support local agriculture.
  • The College's dining experience is tray-less to discourage wasted food (students now take only what they can eat).
  • The Green Move Out program promotes recycling when students move out of the dorms each May.
  • Cleaning on campus is done with the use of green cleaning products.

The Dorr Foundation Grant

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. Former 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.