Sustainability Initiative at Aquinas College

Recognition

Sustainable Business of the Year
On October 12, 2016, Aquinas College was named the Sustainable Business of the Year by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. The award recognizes organizations that best represent the values of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. Past winners of the West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year include Brewery Vivant and Organicycle. This year’s finalists also included Amway, Catalyst Partners, the City of Grand Rapids, Disher Design & Development, Grand Valley State University, Herman Miller, Kent County Department of Public Works, and Rockford Construction. For more information, look here.

AASHE STARS
Aquinas received a Silver rating from the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) STARS program in August 2015. STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance against other institutions. Schools can receive one of four levels of achievement including bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Achieving the silver rating is a testament to the hard work of so many people at Aquinas who are commitment to advancing sustainability. More information and Aquinas’ full report can be found here.

Bicycle Friendly University
On November 6th, 2015, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Aquinas College with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly University (BFUSM) award. Aquinas is one of five Michigan schools recognized this year. With the announcement of 49 new and renewing BFUs today from 31 states, Aquinas joins a cutting-edge group of colleges and universities across the United States that are transforming their campuses and the communities around them. There are now 127 BFUs in 42 states and Washington, DC. Moving forward, Aquinas will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. View the press release here.

Sierra Club "Cool Schools"

The "cool schools" ranking benchmarks colleges and universities based on the incorporation of climate change, mitigation strategies, and other sustainability programming into campus operations. Aquinas has provided information to the list since 2011, resulting in varied performance.
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2017: 125th
2016: 124th
2015: 96th
2014: 95th
2013: 79th
2012: 41st
2011: 94th


Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges
Princeton Review releases a Guide to Green Colleges every year, highlighting schools who have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.. This one-of-a-kind resource -- published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) - is the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability. Aquinas was featured in the guide in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. >Read More


RecycleMania

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an eight week period, colleges report recycling, composting, and trash weights, to be ranked against over 600 participating colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Aquinas has participated in the RecycleMania competition since 2009. Our performance in the Grand Champion category (combines trash and each of the core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation) are as follows:
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2017: 15th nationally, 1st in Michigan
2016: 10th nationally, 1st in Michigan
2015: 18th nationally, 1st in Michigan
2014: 7th
2013: 78th
2012: 162nd
2011: 36th
2010: 14th
2009: 19th


Other Notable Recognition

2016:

  • Sustainable Business alum Eric Saigeon was honored as West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum's "Future Hall of Famer" in October 2016. 
  • Aquinas' Dr. Deborah Steketee was inducted into the West Michigan Sustainable Business Hall of Fame in October 2016.
  • Since 2012, Aquinas College has improved its waste diversion rate from 45% to 68%.
  • Sustainable Business alum John DeAngelis was named in May 2016 as one of GreenBiz’s 2016 “30 under 30”.
  • Aquinas College created a new position titled Dean of Science and Sustainability and hired Sister Damien Marie Savino, F.S.E., Ph.D. for that role. Sister Damien will, working closely with the President, Cabinet, and academic leadership develop program outcomes and strategies.
  • Aquinas’ sustainability accomplishments and best practices were shared to a national audience at the 2016 Dominican Colloquium, hosted by Aquinas College. The college’s impressive sustainability initiatives were also showcased during the multi-day event.
  • Ravine Apartment E receives LEED Certification, making it the college’s 6th building to receive the recognition.

2015:

  • Aquinas Sustainable Business student Jamie Sansone was featured on Wood TV 8 to discuss the Beekeeping Club she started at Aquinas College (April 22, 2015). >View the video here.
  • Grand Rapids Business Journal article titled "West Michigan schools rank among 'Green Colleges' in US" discusses Aquinas College's inclusion in the Princeton Review's “Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition." 
  • MLive.com: For Aquinas College students, orientation means lesson in 'zero waste'
  • Aquinas College was awarded with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly award from the League of American Bicyclists. Aquinas is one of 5 bike friendly universities in Michigan. The full 2015 list of bicycle friendly colleges can be found here
  • Aquinas earned a STARS silver rating from the Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, or the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. As of 2015, there are over 700 colleges and universities worldwide that have earned a STARS rating.

2014:

 
2013:

  • Aquinas College is named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
  • Sustainable Business student John DeAngelis wins first place in the West Michigan Regional Business Plan Competition.
  • The students from the K House, a sustainability LLC, held a “Mount Trashmore” event in October. The event featured a public sorting of all waste generated on campus in one day to draw attention to the importance of reuse, recycling, and composting. The event was covered on WZZM 13 news. 

 
2009:

  • The Aquinas Chemistry Society receives a Green Chemistry award from the American Chemical Society.
  • Feature Article in MiBiz of select sustainable business graduates working in the field. “Sustainable Saints”

 
2008:

  • Aquinas is included in KIWI magazine’s “Green College Report” as one of 50 post-secondary institutions with a significant commitment to the environment.

 
2007:

  • Aquinas is listed as one of Grist magazines “15 Green Colleges and Universities.” 


2006:

  • The undergraduate Sustainable Business degree program is recognized as a “Newsmaker of the Year” by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.