Sustainability Initiative  


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News: Archives

"Green College Spotlight: Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan" by
Click here to read the EarthFirst article, featuring Aquinas College's Sustainable Business Program and the Center for Sustainability.
"Being recognized for going green isn't enough for Grand Rapids environmental leaders"
by the Grand Rapids Press
With a flashy new "green" art museum and dozens of LEED-certified building projects, the Grand Rapids area is gaining a national reputation for being environmentally aware. FastCompany, a national business magazine, just named Grand Rapids "America's Greenest City," saying the region has more green buildings per capita than any other U.S. city. But being green is not enough, according to business leaders and educators - we need sustainability. >>View the full article, featuring Aquinas College and many other local organizations working toward sustainability.
Small Quantities of Business Cards Can Now be Ordered
Business cards can now be ordered in smaller quantities at a substantially reduced cost! Aquinas Personnel only had the options of purchasing 250 or 500 business cards. This resulted in a large amount of wasted paper and the reluctance of infrequent card users to purchase the product. Now Aquinas staff and faculty can purchase as few as 25 cards, if needed. The cards will be on the same paper with the same two-color design Aquinas has been using. Since we are able to offer smaller numbers now, hopefully, individuals will no longer create their own.  It is important that all cards are uniform and professional in their appearance. If you would like to order cards, please e-mail Sally Reeves at
Announcing the WMSPC Logo Design Competition!
The West Michigan Sustainable Purchasing Consortium (WMSPC) has just announced a logo design competition for students in West Michigan. For purposes of this competition, West Michigan is defined as Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa counties. WMSPC will only accept e-mail submissions. Students must send their entry form, copy of their student ID card and all logo design entries in one e-mail to by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 27, 2009. Please note that the entry form is an interactive pdf file. Students should enter his/her information, save, and attach it to their email submission along with their logo designs.
Library LEED Silver Certified
As Aquinas College continues to lead in green initiatives, the Grace Hauenstein Library achieved a major milestone this semester in obtaining LEED Silver certification from the US Green Building Council. The library earned 35 points through green features implemented throughout the project. Some of the major innovations include:
  • Over 82% of building materials were diverted from local landfills and to recycling centers
  • Nearly all (93%) of the building’s regularly occupied spaces feature exterior views
  • Water use is 32% less than a standard facility of similar size
  • All adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet, padding, and particleboard used in the Grace Hauenstein Library are low VOC
  • A majority (58%) of the building materials were shipped from facilities within 500 miles
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is currently the nation’s green building standard. Grand Rapids is home to the most LEED certified buildings per capita in the US. The Grace Hauenstein Library is the first of many green buildings planned for Aquinas’ campus, including the second floor of the Academic Building, the new apartments, and the fieldhouse project.
Tray-Less Tuesday's
In an effort to reduce the College’s environmental footprint, the food service is testing “TRAY-LESS TUESDAY’S," beginning on September 23rd, 2008. Tray-Less Dining decreases waste, conserves natural resources (namely energy and water) and reduces the introduction of polluting detergents, rinses and drying agents into the water table.  Economically it reduces the cost of these same inputs (energy, water, cleaning agents) as well as the fees associated with waste removal. Socially, tray-less dining can provide education and awareness about environmental issues, while also potentially reinforcing a healthy lifestyle.  Collectively, it is a true triple bottom line initiative, further supporting campus sustainability.
Environmental Benefits:  
  • Conserves energy by eliminating the need to heat water for tray washing
  • Reduces dependence on fossil fuels
  • Saves one-third to one-half gallon of water per day
  • Reduces chemicals, detergents, and drying agents used to wash trays
  • Decreases discharge into landfills and wastewater treatment facilities
  • Lessens the ecological footprint
Social Benefits:
  • Supports education and awareness of environmental issues
  • Reinforces the College sustainability initiatives
  • Encourages students to participate in a “Green” initiative that has both a personal and community impact
  • Reinforces sustainability awareness on a daily basis
Economic Benefits:
  • Saves on cost of water and energy
  • Saves on cost of detergents and rinse/drying agents
  • Eliminates cost of trays
  • Reduces food-waste removal costs
The Corner Cafe is going GREEN!
Category: Local Innovation
Implementation Status: Fully implemented
Purchase a 20 ounce GO GREEN, Re-Usable, Biodegradable water bottle for $10 in the Corner Cafe. Fill it with Purified Water for $0.50 each time!
Aquinas Signs the Presidents Climate Commitment
Category: Local Innovation
Implementation Status: Aquinas is still within the first year of signing the Commitment. We have already met the first requirement with the standing staff, student, and faculty sustainability committees. The comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory is largely completed, although it needs to be slightly refined to meet the requirements of the Commitment. We also need to update the reported figures.
President Balog formally signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in June 2008. In doing so, Aquinas has committed to creating a strategy to greatly reduce our carbon footprint. The specific responsibilities of the Commitment include:
  1. Within two months of signing this document, create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan.
  2. Within one year, complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel) and update the inventory every other year thereafter.
  3. Within two years of signing this document, develop an institutional action plan for becoming "climate neutral."
Through the active engagement of the Center for Sustainability, the sustainability committees, and all campus community members, Aquinas will undoubtedly meet the requirements of the Presidents Climate Commitment and advance our institution’s sustainability goals. To read the Commitment in its entirety, please visit:
Regina Hall Student Rooms Lighting Retrofit
Category: Local Innovation
Implementation Status: Fully implemented
Through the leadership of the Residence Life Office, the student rooms in Regina Hall have been fully retrofitted with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL's). Not only do CFL's use up to 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they typically last five to ten times longer. Furthermore, Aquinas only purchases Philips Alto bulbs, the bulb with the lowest mercury level available on the market today. By retrofitting Regina's student rooms, Aquinas will save money on electricity costs and benefit the environment.