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Sustainability at Susquehanna

A deep commitment to a green future

Susquehanna University is serious about the environment. For the last several years, it has been applying sustainable practices to everything from construction to energy use to academics. The new West Village residence halls are LEED certified, and the new science building will be as well. University administrators are considering wind, solar and biomass sources as alternatives to coal for fueling the steam plant.

"It's important for us all to recognize that our actions have consequences far beyond ourselves, and to work toward minimizing our impact," says Associate Professor Kathy Straub, founder of the SU Committee on Sustainability.

A growing number of students have become green activists. Some helped erect new solar arrays on campus to demonstrate how alternative energy can lower costs and help the planet. Others have joined the committee, no longer an ad hoc group, but a formal committee that brings motions to faculty meetings and reports directly to the president. 

For many, the mantra is “reuse, repurpose, recycle.” Students have joined an organized effort to collect and sort recyclables from residence halls and academic buildings. SU takes on other colleges each year in RecycleMania, a national competition to see which school can recycle the most. And residence halls have competed against each other in a campus-wide recycling challenge.

Students also have the opportunity to “live green” on their own terms. They put to use simple tips and resources for planet-friendly living found in the SU Sustainability Guide. Or they can buy a $6 refillable mug, made from 100 percent recycled corn, from the Center for Civic Engagement.

At graduation, many are declaring their allegiance to a sustainable future by wearing the green ribbon and taking the official green pledge: “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”

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