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Higher Education in Maryland


The Greening of the Mount: Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability


From Vatican II and apostolic letters by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, to statements issued by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, citizens of the Earth have been called to value life and issues of social justice and to seek solutions to the ecological crisis through solidarity and shared responsibility. We are asked to assume the “educative role of helping believers and other people of good will [to] form their consciences so that they can see environmental issues as having moral content” (2001).

Further, in keeping with our role as a Charter Signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and in recognition of the gravity of global climate change, we are committed to being a regional leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability. In Spring of 2008, the Mount was selected as a pilot school in the national ACUPCC.

In our curricular and co-curricular programs and in our strategic planning relating to the development and daily usage of our campus and grounds, we are committed to being responsible stewards of our fragile natural resources.

The guiding principle in our stewardship efforts will be environmental sustainability, which means that natural resources are used without degrading or depleting them. In other words, we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (Brundland Commission). Our long-term goal is to make Mount St. Mary's University environmentally sustainable in energy and resource use as well as in waste generation.

American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)
As a Charter Signatory to the Climate Commitment, Mount St. Mary's has committed to developing a plan to become "climate neutral." In the Spring of 2007, the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee (ESSC) was charged with implementing this ambitious project.

“We are deeply conscious of the necessity to move forward to protect the earth and its environment from the ravages of man,” says Mount President Thomas H. Powell. “It is our intention as a university to honor this commitment with action, as demonstrated in the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems in our new Bicentennial Residence Hall. Designs for the planned Delaplaine Fine Arts Center as well include planting rooftop grass to capture moisture and reduce heat absorption. Our campus recycling program is already well-known and growing more eco-friendly each year.”

• ACUPCC Climate Action Plan (to be completed by August 2009)
• ACUPCC greenhouse gas inventory
• significant showing in the national RecycleMania Competition
• Composting pilot program in Patriot Hall
• Addition of glass recycling in Patriot Hall
• Wind tower anemometer proposal (being considered by MD state)
• Investigation of solar power use on campus
• Evaluation of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) to replace aging and inefficient boilers and transmission lines

Past/On-going Initiatives
• "Buy Recycled" Proposal - shifting University purchasing to consider sustainable products containing at least 20% recycled content
• Mount's copy paper goes green - shifted to 30% recycled content
• ESSC Constitution is approved - ESSC becomes a standing University-wide committee
• Creation of sustainability website (Spring 2008)
• Geo-thermal heating and cooling system and energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system in new Bicentennial residence hall (Spring 2008)
• University commitment to buy EnergyStar certified appliances when economically viable (Fall 2007)
• ESSC charged with implementing American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) (Fall 2007)
• Cardboard collection program during student move-in (Spring/Fall 2007)
• Shift from styrofoam to biodegradable/compostable to-go containers (Spring 2007)
• Wind energy feasibility proposal approved (Spring 2007)
• University-wide recycling program (Spring 2006)
• Comprehensive recycling proposal approved (Spring 2005)


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