Tag: recycling

A living laboratory: Lawrence launching campus-wide initiative focused on sustainability

In an effort to address real-world sustainability challenges, establish sustainability as one of its core values, and establish best practices in sustainable campus operations, Lawrence University is looking to transform itself into a living laboratory through a series of new institutional initiatives.

Project specialist Kelsey McCormick will serve as Lawrence’s new sustainability coordinator and will co-chair a newly formed sustainability subcommittee with Jeff Clark, professor of geology, who is also serving as special assistant to the president for sustainability.

Jeff Clark
Jeff Clark

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the past decade or so on the sustainability front, including the construction of the LEED Gold-certified Warch Campus Center, two solar arrays, a 100kW wind turbine at Bjorklunden, a campus-wide bike share and ride share program, a quarter-acre student-run organic garden that has operated since 2005 and a food service program that embraces socially responsible practices with an emphasis on a local farm-to-table sourcing model,” said Clark. “That said, we still have lots of work to do to try and change the culture of campus by integrating sustainability into our daily routines as well as our curriculum.”

A major focus of the new initiative will involve the establishment of an “Eco-rep” program designed to engage students in hands-on efforts in the residence halls to build a culture of sustainability, drastically decreasing the university’s environmental footprint in the process.

Eco-reps will lead by example and educate their peers on issues ranging from recycling and composting to water and energy consumption to food systems, transportation and consumer choices.

Kelsey McCormick
Kelsey McCormick

“The Eco-rep program is really at the heart of this effort,” said McCormick. “This key educational component will establish expectations around how Lawrentians live on our campus. The goal is to foster sustainability as part of every-day behavior. As a residential campus, a great way to accomplish this is to encourage our students to conserve energy, reduce waste and be more conscious in the spaces in which they live.”

Lawrence also will establish a “Sustainability Institute,” providing faculty with opportunities to deepen their understanding of sustainability issues and incorporate sustainability concepts into the curriculum. The institute will run for two years with as many as eight participants each year, increasing opportunities for faculty to work with students to create new engaged learning experiences.

These new efforts are made possible by a three-year grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. The funding will support leadership opportunities for students, professional development opportunities for faculty and infrastructural improvements to the campus. In addition, part of the grant will be used for a special fund for Lawrence community members to seek support for sustainability-focused projects connected to classes, research or co-curricular programs.

During each year of the grant, Lawrence plans to embark on one major infrastructural improvement with the intended goal of reducing the environmental impact, improving efficiency, and reducing waste, which ultimately should lead to cost savings in the long run.

solar panels on the roof of Hiett Hall
Solar panels on the roof of Hiett Hall are one of the efforts Lawrence already has undertaken to become a more sustainable institution.

Lawrence also will launch a Community Read Program to encourage campus members to read and discuss a common book on a current sustainability topic as a way to engage students with others in the community over these global challenges.

As a part of Lawrence’s strategic plan, Veritas Est Lux, the university is committed to enhancing “a culture of sustainable living by integrating sustainability goals across all aspects of the Lawrence experience.” Lawrence aims to be a steward of the surrounding community and the environment by preparing students to be responsible citizens of the world.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Sierra Club Ranks Lawrence University Among America’s “Greenest” Colleges

Concerted sustainability efforts landed Lawrence University 44th on the Sierra Club’s fifth annual “cool school” rankings of the country’s top “green” colleges in the September/October edition of the environmental organization’s magazine. The ranking was an improvement of 62 places over 2010’s 106th ranking.

Lawrence was one of only three Wisconsin colleges — Northland College was 22nd and the University of Wisconsin-Madison 77th — to be included in the magazine’s list of 118 institutions. According to the magazine, surveys were distributed to 940 schools nationally.

In compiling its ranking, Sierra Club used a maximum 100-point scoring system based on goals and achievements in 10 categories: energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and a catch-all called “other initiatives.” With a maximum score of 10 points in each category, Lawrence finished with a composite score of 61.91, up from 57.5 a year ago.

Assisting Lawrence’s jump in the rankings:

• A five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the past year — and a 41 percent reduction since 2002 — through energy efficiency changes.

• A 100 percent use of recycled paper on campus for photocopying and letterhead.

• A 15 percent commitment of the campus food budget on locally (within 100 miles) produced foodstuffs.

• The diversion of 30 tons of kitchen waste to the student-run sustainable garden on campus for composting.

• A total of 12,000 pounds of electronic waste collected and recycled in the campus’ first “e-sweep” last May.

• A first-place finish in the 2011 Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability’s “Campus Energy Challenge” with an overall energy reduction of 12.86 percent.

• A 10th-place finish in the 2011 Recyclemania national recycling competition (per capita category) with an average of 39.15 pounds per person.

“We should all be incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made this year, but we’re not planning to rest in 44th place,” said Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and current chair of Lawrence’s Green Roots initiative. “We have some really exciting projects in store for 2011-12, including wind power at Bjorklunden and outdoor recycling on campus. I’d like to see us take over the top spot for Wisconsin schools in next year’s rankings and continue to move toward the top of the national list.”

The University of Washington jumped from fourth in 2010 to first in the 2011 rankings, edging Green Mountain College, last year’s top-ranked school, with total scores of 81.2 and 81.1, respectively.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.

Lawrence University Jumps to No. 6 in National Recycling Competition

With less than three weeks remaining in the 2010 national RecycleMania competition, Lawrence University has moved up from 11th to 6th place in the per capita classic category according to the most recent standings. The category tracks the amount of acceptable materials recycled per person.

Lawrence had recycled an average of 21.99 pounds per person, up from 8.67 pounds at the beginning of the competition, which features 315 colleges and universities across the nation. Colorado College continues to lead the category at 34.58 pounds per person. Lawrence is first among 12 other Wisconsin schools in the per capita classic category.

RecycleMania is a friendly, 10-week-long competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. The challenge, which ends March 27, includes four primary competition categories:

• Grand Champion, which combines trash and core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation.

• Per Capita Classic, in which schools compete to see which can collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard and bottles and cans per person.

• Waste Minimization, in which schools compete to see which produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (recyclables and trash) per person.

• Gorilla Prize, which recognizes schools that recycle the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles and cans during the 10-week competition, regardless of campus population.

First conducted in 2001 between Miami University and Ohio University, the 2010 RecycleMania competition features a record 607 colleges and universities across the United States, Canada and as far away as Qatar.

Lawrence University Tickling Top 10 in National Recycling Competition

Lawrence University students, faculty and staff are among the best recyclers in the country based on the early returns of the 2010 RecycleMania competition.

In the competition’s Per Capita Classic category, which tracks the amount of acceptable recyclables per person, Lawrence ranked 11th nationally among 315 colleges and universities through the first two weeks of the contest, which began Jan. 17.

Lawrence had recycled 8.67 pounds per person, just a few soda cans behind no. 10 Stanford University’s average of 8.73 pounds. Colorado College was leading the category at 18.73 pounds per person. Lawrence was the top recycler among 10 Wisconsin colleges participating in the per capita category, which includes St. Norbert College, UW-Madison and UW-Oshkosh.

“This is an opportunity to see how much recycling and waste reduction we can do if we come together as a community and focus our energy,” said Jeff Clark, faculty associate to the president for Green Roots: the sustainable Lawrence initiative. “The data we get from this also helps us identify areas that we need to improve upon, so it will have lasting effects even after the competition is over.”

RecycleMania is a friendly, 10-week-long competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.

Sponsored by the College and University Recycling Council, a technical council of the National Recycling Coalition, RecycleMania has several goals, among them increase on-campus recycling participation by students and staff, heighten awareness of a schools’ waste management and recycling programs, lower waste generated on-campus and expand economic opportunities while addressing environmental issues in a positive way.

First conducted in 2001 between Miami University and Ohio University, the RecycleMania competition has grown steadily every year since. In 2009, all 50 states were represented for the first time and in 2010, a record 607 colleges and universities across the United States, Canada and as far away as Qatar are participating. This year’s competition runs through March 27.

RecycleMania includes four primary competition categories:

• Grand Champion, which combines trash and core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation.

• Per Capita Classic, in which schools compete to see which can collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard and bottles and cans per person.

• Waste Minimization, in which schools compete to see which produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (recyclables and trash) per person.

• Gorilla Prize, which recognizes schools that recycle the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles and cans during the 10-week competition, regardless of campus population.