Submitted on November 3, 2010; last updated on November 3, 2010
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After review of Mercyhurst College’s GHG Emissions, top priorities of electricity consumption, natural gas consumption, solid waste, and transportation have been determined. Currently, Mercyhurst College purchases wind energy which offsets 100% of the electricity consumption from Erie campus. First year mitigation efforts include an educational campaigns centered on electricity consumption, awareness, and conservation; student research into alternative transportation options for campus, and alternative fuel options for campus fleet vehicles; expansion and new opportunities for the Mercyhurst College Garden Project; and the installation of composters to help decrease solid waste disposed of in landfills. Evaluations of progress, effectiveness, and new priorities will be completed annually.
Mercyhurst currently offers a Sustainability concentration in the Biology and Chemistry academic programs, and Sustainability minor in several areas of study including interior design and biology, with the hope of expanding to include all areas of academic study offered at Mercyhurst College. The Sustainability Contract major is a new addition to the academic programs and currently has four students enrolled. This major is multi-disciplinary while also offering students the opportunity to engage in problem solving, experiential learning in a focused area of study which they may choose. In addition to the undergraduate programs offered, an introduction to sustainability studies course is offered to all students, and a Post-baccalaureate certificate in Sustainability Studies.
Mercyhurst College will continue to include students in all aspects of this climate action plan, specifically with research of renewable energy options for on-site electricity generation, sustainable building practices and materials with new construction projects, alternative transportation for students, alternative fuel sources for the campus fleet, and education campaigns about energy and natural resource conservation.
Mercyhurst can expand our community outreach by continually informing the community about sustainability themed projects that Mercyhurst is initiating and allowing the local community to join the campus, either to learn more about the projects or to actually physically help with the projects.
The Student Green Team, each year, has arranged a local products fair in support of local businesses and educating the campus about the options and sustainable nature of buying local; this should expand to include more variety of businesses including restaurants to create a larger impact on the campus body, as well as, the local community. Involvement by students in local organizations like “All Aboard Erie”, which supports alternative transportation, the “Green Building Alliance”, which, based out of Pittsburgh, helps to educate and inform the community about green buildings, will help them make lasting connections, but also help Mercyhurst stay involved with the newest project plans in our local communities. Mercyhurst College should be aware of these environmental or sustainable projects, and offer the helping hand of advice or planning assistance. Our plans for campus can be models and teaching assistants for others.
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