June 18, 2009
Since the Sustainability Endowments Institute gave Stonehill a D+ in its Green Report Card last year, the College has been working to improve its rating, using the report card to ensure that our progress on green issues is reflected in the upcoming 2009 annual survey.
"We have so many opportunities for improvement and we are following up on them," said Associate Vice President for Operations Roger Goode, who has participated in a sustainability conference since the report came out in 2008 and is overseeing many progressive developments.
"Now we have an idea what the report card is all about and there are new things we are focusing on. It's similar to when students get a bad grade--they then refocus their efforts and the goal is to not repeat what they did poorly," said Goode.
The College is making strides in becoming a more environmentally-friendly institution. Energy efficiency is at the forefront in construction of the new Science Center with compact fluorescent light bulbs, motion sensors, programmable thermostats and extra insulation being installed.
The building will also feature high-performance window glazing, energy-efficient air-cooled chillers & lighting systems and a green roof over the atrium. At present, the roof (pictured left) is midway toward completion.
Under a pilot program, there are also new recycling receptacles, made by Stonehill carpenters, in the Science Center that take old batteries, printer cartridges, and compact fluorescent lights. If the receptacles work there, the program will be expanded elsewhere across campus.
Last fall, Facilities installed new irrigation wells on campus that reduce our need to purchase water and that also save on sewerage fees. The College has also replaced storm windows in older buildings on campus and installed motion sensors to control lighting.
Stonehill is promoting a pedestrian friendly campus with the completion of brick walkways throughout the campus which have replaced interior roadways. Parking and roadways now encircle the outer perimeter of the campus.
The Environmental Stewardship Council, which meets regularly to discuss environmental and sustainability issues, will help Goode and the Department of Facilities Management with one of its biggest challenges - communication. The Council has launched a website, which includes energy-saving tips, links, and more.
"We have an effective recycling program at Stonehill but many people don't know everything that we already recycle or that they can simply send the Facilities Management department an email and they will deliver a recycling bin to their office if they don't have one," said Goode.
The Facilities Management website also has detailed information about its recycling program, including statistics. Since 1991 nearly $35,000 has been raised for a student scholarship fund through plastic bottle and can redemption on campus while 460 gallons of waste oil from dining halls has been recycled since 2005.
Students are also rallying to help make Stonehill a "greener" place. Groups like Students for Environmental Action (SEA) actively sought to reduce water consumption on campus and recently planted an organic garden in which its harvest will be used by the College's dining services.
In addition, the Stonehill Crossings Student Ministry helped reduce the College's waste by initiating the "Wait, Don't Throw That Away!" program when students left for the summer break. Student ministers collected redeemable items, which may have ended up at the local landfill, through a door-to-door box drive and brought the items to local charities.
The Operations Management department has also hired a firm to conduct an energy conservation assessment report, which looked into opportunities for savings and improvements in water, gas, oil and electricity.
"That information now becomes a tool for us and we are going to put it into future budgets to make sure those projects are done. They will all include energy rebates and energy paybacks," said Goode, who added many of the projects are already in the works with motion activated faucets and motion sensors being installed in buildings throughout campus.
Goode believes the biggest step Stonehill can make in becoming a greener campus is also the simplest step. "We need to reallocate our existing resources and take actions like making sure we turn off our office or residence hall room lights and computers when we leave, part of our daily routines."
The Sustainability Endowments Institute's Green Report Card assessed sustainability profiles of 300 colleges and universities through independent research as well as through voluntary responses from college administrators to three surveys. The survey seeks to provide accessible information for schools to learn from one another's experiences and enable them to establish more effective sustainability policies.
The College will begin responding to the 2009 survey during the summer and expects to obtain the results of the survey later in the year.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.