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Sustainability Events

Earth Month Events and Activities! >Download the Poster

West Michigan Birdathon and Nature Festival Kick-off event

Date: Saturday, April 18th

  • Eco-restoration service learning project (Invasive Species Removal) 10:30 am -12:30 pm
  • John Ball Zoo brings animals to AQ, 1 pm Donnelly Center, Topic: Endangered Species/Conservation
  • All About Owls, Blandford on the Road: 3:30 pm Donnelly Center
Film Screening: Flow for the Love of Water

Date: April 21 at 1pm

Location: Wege Center, Loutit Room

Aquinas College's AQua Aid group will be showing titled "Flow for the Love of Water". This documentary provides information on the diminishing water supply and the problems with water privatization while also stating promising programs and technology to help with this problem.
Earth Day at AQ!
Date: April 22

Campus Life is organizing a variety of afternoon Earth Day activities around the Cook Carriage House. Check the Moose for updates. Also enjoy a local lunch in the Wege Cafeteria. The lunch menu is as follows:

  • Chicken tortilla soup-house made, and house made tortilla strips
  • Turkey kale Caesar wrap-west Michigan turkey, local lite house dressing, local kale house made chips
  • Meat Stromboli- house made, Quincy meat(ham), house made pizza sauce, Davis creek cheese
  • Vegetable Stromboli cheese, house made pizza sauce
  • Beef tips in burgundy sauce- Davis creek beef
19th Annual Wege Speaker Series Featuring Edward Mazria
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 4pm to 5pm. Reception will follow.

Location: Aquinas College Performing Arts Center (1703 Robinson Road S.E., Grand Rapids, MI)

Lecture is free and open to the public.

At this year’s event, the key speaker is Edward Mazria, founder and head of Architecture 2030, an organization designed to rapidly transform the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate and energy crises. His talk is titled “The Road to Zero.” Joining Mazria will be Vincent Martinez, Director of Research and Operations, Architecture 2030, and Dan Scripps, Executive Director of the Institute for Energy Innovation in Michigan. LIMITED SEATING: RSVP to by April 14, 2015.


Experiencing Economicology

Date: May 15, 2015 from 9am to 2pm

Location: Aquinas College Donnelly Center

The immersion experience titled “Experiencing Economicology” will introduce high school students (9th through 12th grade) to the important concepts of Economicology and sustainability. The program is intentionally organized with hands-on activities and opportunities for reflection. The day will begin with a keynote to introduce why Economicology is important to our city/region and the sustainability of our world. A series of five concurrent sessions will follow, exploring how economics and ecology can work together to achieve sustainability, the role of nature in our lives, and how personal action can build a sustainable future. Learn how you can "be the change"!

Off-Campus Events:

"Restoring Biodiversity at Home: Why Your Garden Matters" with Speaker Douglas Tallamy
Date: April 18, 2015

Time: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Location: Hastings, Michigan (Pierce Cedar Creek Institute)

Cost: $40 Lunch is included

As part of the 2015 Grow Native! Campaign, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is pleased to welcome renowned author and speaker Douglas Tallamy. Following a strolling lunch by Chef Richard Centala, Tallamy, a leader in the field of sustainable gardening, will discuss the ways garden plants can have a positive impact on biodiversity. Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, Tallamy won the Garden Writer’s Association’s Silver Medal for his book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. He is co-author of "The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden" and a contributor to The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening.

Earth Day Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit

Date: April 22, 2015 from 8:30am - 4:00pm

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan (Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Ambassador Ballroom)

Spend Earth Day 2015 with the Michigan Battle of the Buildings. The summit will welcome Valerie Brader, Senior Strategy Officer to Governor Snyder and recently appointed leader of the new Michigan Agency for Energy, State of Michigan and Tom Kiser (aka: America's Energy Coach), Worthington Energy. Participate in panel discussions with the Michigan Battle of the Buildings contestants, hear about the resources available to all building owners/managers and visit exhibits of energy efficient technology & services. Please join us in celebration of our 2014 biggest losers and welcome the new 2015 field of Michigan energy warriors.

Michigan Recycling Coalition Annual Conference

Date: May 6 - 7, 2015

Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan (Radisson)

The Michigan Recycling Coalition Annual Conference will provide many opportunities for conferees to learn about best practices and network with colleagues and service providers to explore options for program planning, development, implementation, and evaluation that will move public & private recycling program initiatives forward.

National Zero Waste Business Conference

Date: May 5 - 7, 2015

Location: Los Angeles, California (The Millennium Biltmore)

This conference will demonstrate how Zero Waste can be a key part of business climate change and sustainability plans by reducing greenhouse gases and increasing operating efficiencies. Experts from a diverse range of industries will share innovative ideas, practical tools, and first-hand experience at creating value for their business through Zero Waste.


West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnerships Ignite!
Date: May 18, 2015

Cost: $18.00

The Community Sustainability Partnerships of West Michigan, which include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Spring Lake/Grand Haven, Holland, Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor/St. Joseph invite you to their IGNITE event on May 18th. The event will start at 1:18 p.m. and end at 5:18 p.m. and will be held at GVSU Eberhard Center. There will be approximately twelve 15 minute presentations that will inspire the audience to ignite and amplify the environmental, social and economic nexus of sustainability. We will showcase some of West Michigan's best practices and ideas.


Permaculture Design Certificate Course with Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture

Date: May 30 to June 6, 2015

Location: Hastings, Michigan (Pierce Cedar Creek Institute)

The Permaculture Design Certificate course led by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture ( will help participants understand permaculture concepts and develop their own permaculture designs. Topics will include food production, home design and construction, energy conservation and generation, and social and economic issues that all support a culture that cares for the planet and its inhabitants. The course will primarily take place at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute with visits to local farms and additional instruction by local permaculturists Brian and Josh Shultz. Participants who complete the course earn a Permaculture Design Certificate. Many colleges and universities accept this course for credits. The course requires study prior to the beginning of class. Lodging is available at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Registration Deadline is May 1, 2015. All meals are included.

AASHE 2015

Date: October 25-28, 2015

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo, themed Transforming Sustainability Education, will convene a diverse group of campus representatives including faculty, students, sustainability officers, staff, administrators and presidents together with business, non-profit, government and community members for a sustainable celebration. In the “City by Nature,” a culturally and historically diverse place for thousands of years located on the Dakota homelands, with exquisite green spaces and a cosmopolitan urban culture, we will gather for a look back and into the future to examine:

  • How higher education institutions can come together to lead campus and community transformation on local, regional and global levels
  • How we can work across disciplines and cultures to lead the charge on identifying educational strategies and solutions for advancing campus and community sustainability efforts
  • How we can create learning and teaching opportunities that allow students and community members to work together on current environmental, social and economic issues

Expected to draw approximately 2,100 participants, AASHE’s annual conference remains the largest stage in North America for sharing effective models, policies, research, collaborations and transformative actions which advance sustainability in higher education and beyond.

To watch videos of previous Economicology events, click here (ELM login required)

Sustainability News

April is Energy Month! >Download the poster

Starting tomorrow April 1st the Aquinas College is launching into energy month. Join us in taking time to be considerate of energy usage. Look for posters of our energy campaigns “Be Bold, Wash Cold”, “Flip the Switch”, and “Don’t Standby: Unplug”. Taking simple steps and making small choices can create a difference!

Related to these initiatives is a competition for the apartments to reduce energy. We will be analyzing both electric and natural gas usage. The apartment with the greatest percent decrease in energy is eligible to be entered into a drawing to win a “chill” prize.

Follow the events regarding energy and sustainability through the course of the month!

Give Your Opinion of the Community Garden
Consider taking this garden survey to have a stake in this fruitful part of campus. Click here to take the survey. You must have an ELM password to take the survey.
Make Your Own Terracycle Box
Want to help AQ reach zero waste by 2014? Start by making a personal Terracycle collection box! Download and print out the label, and start collecting everyday waste such as snack bags and candy wrappers. When your box is full, simply empty it at your nearest Terracycle station!
Results of the Community Garden vote at Homecoming
At Aquinas' homecoming, you were asked to vote on the next crop to incorporate into our community garden. The options were: Strawberries, Potatoes, and Squash and the voting results from Homecoming are in! The winner was Strawberries by a long shot, with 301 votes. Potatoes came in second with 87 votes and squash in third with 38 votes. Spring can't be here soon enough.
Zero Waste Success at Homecoming
The zero waste team was busy at Homecoming 2014 (September 27) to help alums properly sort waste during campus activities. Because of their hard work, we achieved a 90% diversion rate (by weight). Congrats AQ and a big thank you to all volunteers!
RecycleMania 2014: AQ is Best in the State

Over the last two months RecycleMania has been taking place at Aquinas as well as on college campuses across the country. During this year’s 14th annual national tournament, 461 schools participated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. That represents more than 5.3 million students and over 1.2 million faculty and staff!


Schools competed in 11 categories to see which institution can:

  1. Recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans/bottles, and food waste on a per capita basis;
  2. Produce the least amount of waste; and
  3. Recycle the largest percentage of their overall waste stream.


The top category, Grand Champion, combines trash and each of the core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation.

The results for this year are in:

  • National Grand Champion Ranking: Aquinas took seventh place. (In 2013, Aquinas took 78th place.)
  • State of Michigan Grand Champion Ranking: Aquinas took first place. (In 2013, Aquinas took second place.) We competed against Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Albion College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Kendall College of Art and Design, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Western Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College.

Great job Aquinas faculty, staff and students! We applaud your effort in working to recycle, compost and use the special collections on campus. Continue to be selective about your waste stream and help us reach our goal of Zero Waste by 2014. To view AQ’s performance in other RecycleMania categories, visit

Greener Grads: Donate Your Gown
Join Greener Grads in our goal to recover, repurpose and reuse one million graduation gowns this year. Together we can reduce the mass production and breathe new life into old gowns. Donate your gown after graduation, and we will make sure it gets a new life, stays out of the landfill and keeps our planet healthy and green. It may seem like a small contribution to you, but every gown counts.

A collection bin will be in place at Aquinas’ graduation ceremony, but you can also drop off your gown anytime to the Center for Sustainability (AB 255). Learn more here.

AQ Featured in Princeton Review
We are pleased to report that Aquinas College was selected for inclusion in the 2014 edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.” This one-of-a-kind resource -- published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council - is the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability. Check it out!
AQ Community Garden

There is a new location for the community garden! It is now located east of the AMC. The goal is to have two, 4x8 ft raised beds managed in square foot gardening style.  A Square Foot Garden does not use any fertilizer or have any weeds because one type of plant is grown within a square foot, and the soil mixture used does not contain weed seed. Also the raised beds allow people who have difficulties tending a regular garden, an opportunity to garden easier.

Gardens are a great use of land area. They filter rainwater, restore oxygen to the air, and provide a place to put your compost. Community gardens provide an opportunity to meet new people and build relationships in a relaxed environment, because gardening is a form of stress relief!

We are looking for committed garden volunteers, who are able to spend one day a week (Monday – Friday) to help water and weed the garden throughout the summer. Ideally, we will have two volunteers scheduled for each week day (i.e. 2 every Monday, 2 every Tuesday, etc…). You can complete your garden work anytime during the day, and it should not take more than 30 minutes to an hour. If you have any interest in being a “serious” garden volunteer and committing to at least 30 minutes each week, please send a confirmation email to Jessica Eimer at indicating: How many hours per week you plan to volunteer, as well as possible days and times of the week that you are able to work in the garden.

Important Volunteer Notes: 1. Volunteers must gain approval from their supervisors, if they are volunteering during their shifts. 2. Staff/Faculty members can work on the garden during normal business hours, but they cannot be officially on college time. Hourly employees must punch out, and all employees are still expected to complete their weekly hours.

AQ Bike Auction
Do you have a bike that you no longer want? Here is your chance to get rid of it. The Aquinas College Campus Safety online bike auction will once again be open to all staff, faculty and students. However, this year you have the opportunity to bring your old or unused bike in and have it auctioned off. There will be a $5 entry fee for every bike you wan tin the auction, but all money made on the bike will go directly to you. This is your chance to clean out the garage, she or porch and finally get rid of that bike no one rides. Bike condition is not important, all bikes will be sold "as is" and may be inspected by potential buyers. For more info or to sign up you rbike, please e-mail Ryan at or call (616) 632-2449. This year's online auction will take place from April 21 - May 2 on the Campus Safety website. All bikes must be entered into the auction by Friday, April 11 at 4 p.m. Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity.
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