Sustainability Initiative  




Progress: Policies & Commitments

Campus Zero Waste Policy

As a part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Aquinas College is working to achieve campus-wide zero municipal solid waste by 2014. 

Our Zero Waste Team assists in educational programs concerning Aquinas’ waste streams. With collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, Aquinas will incrementally reduce our waste by 25% each semester, by continuing campus composting and recycling efforts as well as the added effort of special collection systems. With everyone working together, we can reach this aggressive goal and be a zero waste campus by 2014! >More Information

New Campus-Wide Smoking Policy

Aquinas College is committed to becoming a smoke free campus by August 2015. In 2012, the college's administration introduced designated smoking areas throughout campus. The restriction of on campus smoking areas is beneficial to the health of students, staff, faculty and the community that visit Aquinas. Effective August 1, 2014, the locations authorized for smoking on campus are reduced to 5.


Signs have been posted in the following locations on campus, indicating designated smoking areas:

  • The picnic table in front of the main entrance to St. Joseph Hall.
  • The tower north of the Campus Safety Building.
  • The picnic table in front of Ravine Apartment A.
  • The corner of Elderberry Lane and MLK Drive.
  • The southeast corner of the Performing Arts Center, adjacent to the Plymouth Parking Lot.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are approximately 3,000 deaths from lung cancer and 37,000 deaths in heart disease related to second hand smoke a year. Second hand smoke consists of more than 4,000 chemicals. Nearly 200 of these are poisons, while at least 69 are carcinogens. (Clean Air).

Excessive Idling Policy
Aquinas College is an "idle-free" campus, meaning no vehicle is permitted to idle longer than 5 minutes while on college property. An unattended idling vehicle poses not only a safety threat, but also a security risk. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, diesel exhaust accounts for up to 78% of added risk of cancer in the outdoor air. This includes all other hazardous air pollutants in the United States. ( By limiting the amount of time vehicles are permitted to idle to 5 minutes, the policy helps to preserve the natural beauty of campus while simultaneously supporting AQ's pledge to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Certain exceptions have been written into the policy to accommodate buses and diesel engines in extreme temperatures. Policy effective on May 1, 2011.

>Read our policy (PDF)
Energy Star Purchasing Commitment

To help minimize energy use from equipment, Aquinas College has an appliance purchasing commitment in place. All new appliances that are purchased must be Energy Star qualified. This commitment ensures that the most efficient appliances available on the market are purchased, helping Aquinas save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

LEED Certified Building Commitment

Aquinas College has adopted a commitment for new building construction and major renovation projects. All construction projects must be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. This commitment ensures that quality, environmentally considerate buildings and projects are undertaken on campus. LEED buildings encourage designers to integrate green features in the planning phase, instead of trying to retrofit the structure later to include them. LEED certified buildings use local materials, recycle construction waste, and use building techniques to help reduce energy consumption and waste. Aquinas College hopes to limit the impacts on the environment during campus construction projects through this policy. >Learn about our LEED Buildings


American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)

"The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the Earth’s climate. Building on the growing momentum for leadership and action on climate change, the Presidents Climate Commitment provides a framework and support for America’s colleges and universities to go climate neutral. The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in training the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming." (ACUPCC) Aquinas College signed the Commitment in September 2008. 
>View AQ's most recent Carbon Footprint
>View AQ's most recent Progress Report
>View AQ's Climate Action Plan
Aquinas College Signs the Talloires Declaration
Dr. Ed Balog

As one of his first official acts as Aquinas College president, C. Edward Balog signed the Talloires Declaration in the summer of 2007. In 2002, the College launched its commitment to sustainability through the establishment of an undergraduate major in Sustainable Business and expanded its outreach to the community in 2005 with the creation of the Center for Sustainability. The signing of the Talloires Declaration further supports Aquinas College’s institutional pledge to educate, implement, and live the principles of sustainability.


Established in 1990, the Talloires Declaration is an official commitment by presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors of universities and colleges to integrate environmental sustainability into the curriculum and processes of higher education. It includes ten specific actions, such as fostering environmental literacy for the entire campus, and involving all stakeholders in the process. Aquinas College joins approximately 356 institutions in over 40 countries which have made a commitment to the Talloires Declaration. >Talloires Declaration

*Note: These links are only accessible from the Aquinas computer network and AQNet.