Environmentally-Friendly Practices at Marist College

A century ago the world population numbered 1.6 billion. Today, the world population is 7.5 billion people. This rapid population growth has forced us to reassess our use of the earth's resources and to institute environmentally friendly services in campus operations.

"Sustainability is an economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations."
- Paul Hawken, "The Ecology of Commerce", 1993

Efforts towards campus sustainability include recycling, purchasing environmentally sound products, energy and water conservation, alternative fuel vehicles and the greening of residence facilities.

What Marist College is doing

Positive Impact on the Local Environment

  • The College has cleaned five large, contaminated industrial sites near campus and has turned them into attractive properties.
  • The College purchased a 13-acre preserve at the north end of campus.
  • In its Master Plan, Marist College reoriented its campus toward the Hudson River, emphasizing natural beauty and creating scenic vistas:
    • The College created Longview Park, which is open to the public and which has significantly beautified our riverfront. In creating the park, Marist has stabilized and reclaimed the shoreline, closed the riverfront septic system, and landscaped with native species.
    • The College created additional green space on campus, including the main campus green, which used to be a parking lot and the former site of the maintenance yard. A total of 27 trees have been planted at this site.
    • Marist's Master Plan calls for a campus pedestrian core to encourage walking and biking, creation of green spaces and planting of trees throughout the campus and parking areas.
    • The College has an environmental sciences lab inside the restored Cornell Boathouse adjacent to the Hudson River.
    • Marist worked with New York State and Dutchess County to turn the Psychiatric Center's riverfront property into Quiet Cove Park. The Greenway runs from Quiet Cove through the Marist Fern Tor preserve to Longview Park.

Sustainable Operational and Building Practices

  • The College has purchased recycling containers (commingle, paper, newspaper, trash), both indoor and outdoor, throughout campus in all public areas.
  • Newly built campus academic and residence facilities conform with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) attributes.
  • Marist is in complete compliance with the EPA's rules on the storage and disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Marist uses insect-repelling soap instead of insecticide to control pests in the College's greenhouse.
  • Marist uses T8 and T5 lower-wattage, longer-life light bulbs along with LED lighting in campus facilities.
  • Marist uses green-certified cleaning products comprehensively.
  • There are motion detectors/light sensors installed in many campus buildings throughout campus.
  • In fall 2006, the College purchased a hydraulic compressor for cans and plastic to increase its capacity for the collection of recyclables.  In fall 2007, the College began composting food waste through campus dining services and in fall 2013,  converted to using a hyper accelerated food waste decomposition system.
  • Where possible, the College uses low-VOC paints/glues and recycled carpets/ceiling tiles.
  • The College collects used furniture and carpets, non-perishable food, appliances and clothing from within the residence areas and donates these to charity.
  • The College collects and recycles printer and toner cartridges
  • The College annually sponsors a campus-wide electronics recycling colelction
  • The College uses high-efficiency natural gas washers and dryers, saving energy and almost two million gallons of water per year.
  • It is Marist's general policy to buy Energy Star appliances for residential housing units.
  • Marist uses doubled-sided printers in computer labs, library and offices throughout campus.
  • "Free cooling" for information technology rooms is used in the Hancock ERCL Data Center and Lower West Cedar P LAN Room.  The principle is simple; when the outside air is cold enough the (warmed) chilled-water returning from the data center is cooled in a separate coil rather than using the compressor cycle – thus saving electricity.  Fans are still required to circulate the air and pumps to circulate the water.  
  • Physical Plant staff are responsible for the collection of garbage and recyclables from campus residence areas and academic buildings and are trained to follow appropriate collection and recycling procedures.
  • When the College does construction demolitions, everything is recycled (concrete, bricks, etc.).
  • During college vacation breaks, all cleaning and housekeeping services are scheduled during the day in order to minimize the need for interior lighting.

Advocacy/Communication

  • The Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) was appointed by the President to provide broad policy advice to the administration and to the Board of Trustees' Buildings & Grounds committee.
  • Marist is a charter institutional member of the Hudson Valley Environmental Consortium.
  • The Building & Grounds Committee approves annually $50,000 to support sustainability initiatives.
  • Marist has a sustainability website (http://www.marist.edu/studentlife/sustainability/).
  • The Marist Environmental History Project (MEHP) is dedicated to identifying, promoting, and preserving historically significant materials concerning the Scenic Hudson decision in our Library archives.
  • Student clubs and organizations participate in Scenic Hudson's yearly Great River Sweep clean-up event.
  • Yearly, CSAC sponsors a variety of lectures and workshops on sustainability, involving students, faculty, staff and community resources

Professional Affiliations

  • Marist is a charter institutional member of the Hudson Valley Environmental Consortium.
  • Marist is a member of the Hudson River Valley Greenway, which runs through the Marist campus. President Murray is also a member of the Greenway Board.
  • The College is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (http://www.aashe.org).
  • The College is a member of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
  • Marist is a long time supporter of Scenic Hudson, which was founded by the late environmentalist Frances Reese who also served as a member of the college's Board of Trustees for many years.

Ideas for what else Marist can do

Education/Communication

  • Encourage faculty to secure research grants for environmental projects.
  • Incorporate sustainability into the core curriculum.
  • Encourage student CURSCA research projects to focus on environmental themes and highlight those that do.
  • Continue to offer discussions, teach-ins, films, and hands-on activities to raise awareness of climate change issues.
  • Develop faculty workshops on sustainability and how to incorporate the theme into curricula.
  • Reach out to college community about sustainability efforts.
  • Educate and encourage students, faculty, and staff to reduce, re-use, and recycle.

Additional Sustainable Operational and Building Practices

  • Use alternative energy sources.
  • Consider buying hybrid vehicles for the campus fleet.
  • Install more bicycle racks to encourage people not to drive to campus.
  • Develop a campus purchasing policy so that vendors who deliver goods to campus pick up and recycle their product packaging (such as cardboard).
  • Install energy misers for campus vending machines.
  • Continue to install water-saving devices (shower, toilet, etc.) in ongoing campus renovations and new campus facilities.
  • Install water bottle refill stations throughout campus to encourage people to fill their water bottles.
  • Use native, low-maintenance plantings wherever possible.
  • Install separate metering in buildings wherever possible in order to measure usage.
  • Develop a Campus Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund to finance sustainability projects such as energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy.

Advocacy/Memberships

  • Enter the National Recyclemania.org college competition (http://www.recyclemania.org).
  • Support and work toward the goal of zero greenhouse emissions as stated in the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/).
  • Recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency effort to reduce solid waste as Organics Reduction Champion for the EPA Game Day Challenge 2010 and 2011

Ideas for what individuals can do at home and on campus*

  • Turn off lights when you're not using them.
  • If you typically leave your computer on all of the time, sign up for World Community Grid.
  • Replace regular incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer.
  • Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Choose energy-efficient appliances when making new purchases.
  • Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket.
  • Use less hot water.
  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible.
  • Turn off electronic devices you're not using.
  • Unplug electronics from the wall when you're not using them.
  • Only run your dishwasher when there's a full load and use the energy-saving setting.
  • Insulate and weatherize your home.
  • Be sure you're recycling at home.
  • Buy recycled paper products.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Get a home energy audit.
  • Switch to green power.
  • Buy locally grown and produced foods.
  • Buy fresh foods instead of frozen.
  • Seek out and support local farmers markets.
  • Buy organic foods as much as possible.
  • Avoid heavily packaged products.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible.
  • Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates.
  • Keep your car tuned up.
  • Check your tires weekly to make sure they're properly inflated.
  • When it's time for a new car, choose a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
  • Live closer to work so you don't drive as much.
  • Take mass transit.
  • Fly less.
* More details on these ideas at http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/
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