Sustainability Initiative at Aquinas College

Progress: Policies & Commitments

St. Francis Pledge, Catholic Climate Covenant
"Today the great gift of God’s Creation is exposed to serious dangers and lifestyles which can degrade it. Environmental pollution is making particularly unsustainable the lives of the poor of the world … we must pledge ourselves to take care of creation and to share its resources in solidarity." - Pope Benedict XVI

Reflecting our institution’s commitment to the Dominican tradition, environmental consciousness and sustainability, Aquinas College signed the St. Francis Pledge in 2013. In signing the pledge, Aquinas has joined the Catholic Climate Covenant. This initiative was started by the Catholic Climate Coalition in 2009 and reflects one of the fundamental teachings of Catholicism; caring for the poor. The church recognizes that poor people are more greatly harmed by environmental pollution and global climate change, and therefore has set out to establish a promise to address global climate change. >More Information
 
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.  Our Zero Waste Team assists in educational programs concerning Aquinas’ waste streams. With collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, Aquinas is working to incrementally increase our waste diversion rate, 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! >More Information
 
Campus-Wide Smoking Policy
Aquinas College is a smoke free campus. 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). Aquinas College is doing our part to clear the air on campus.
 
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. (cleanair.org). 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
 
Carbon Neutrality Plan
Aquinas College is committed to becoming a carbon neutral campus by 2040. To reach this goal, the campus has completed a baseline greenhouse gas report, a Climate Action Plan, several progress reports, and updates to the campus carbon footprint. The Center for Sustainability is working diligently to meet our mid-range goals laid out in the Climate Action Plan.
 
Aquinas College Signs the Talloires Declaration
man by podium with microphoneAs 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.