“Green” Initiatives at CCCU Campuses



For students and faculty within the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), one way of honoring the Creator is by taking care of His creation. In recent years, there has been a surge of “green” initiatives as member campuses of the CCCU take the environment and its impact on people into further consideration. The result: energy-efficient buildings, dramatically reduced waste across campus, student activist clubs, restoration projects at home and abroad, bachelors and masters programs in environmental science, and more. Below are just a few examples of how CCCU campuses are turning green.

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The newest building on the campus of Calvin College is the Vincent and Helen Bunker Interpretive Center in Calvin’s Ecosystem Preserve. The building qualifies for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, the second highest level of certification the Council grants.

Many of the building materials used – including paneling, insulation and interior trim – are made of recycled materials. Waste is handled by composting toilets, a sophisticated apparatus independent of the city’s sewer system. Water from the sinks will filter through a biomass area (a large, indoor planter filled with water plants) before it recycles into the ponds.

The building can draw 60 percent of its power from the sun. The solar-powered element of the center was conceived by a student research committee. When the original budget failed to cover the solar project, senior engineering student Jordan Hoogendam wrote a grant proposal to the Energy Office of the State of Michigan. The resulting $91,000 grant provided the photovoltaic panels and an instrument package, which Hoogendam and his team installed as their senior design project.

Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Troyer Group architects has called EMU a “pioneer”in energy efficient practices on college campuses. In a recent study of energy usage by 90 universities across the entire United States, EMU ranks third from the best in the least energy used per gross square foot of building space.

EMU collects about a ton of recyclable materials from around campus each week using a specially engineered bicycle. Food scraps from the dining hall are composted and have been used to feed pigs as part of a student-run project for Earthkeepers club. Custodial staff uses environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.

EMU is committed to green or sustainable practices across the campus, including efficient water use, waste management, IT and printing practices, as well as in renovation and building plans.

Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa.

Environmental stewardship has long been a part of Eastern University’s commitment to faith, reason and justice. Eastern’s environmental studies courses, summer biology camps, forums and lectures, and student-led projects have provided opportunities over the years to apply God’smandate to “take care of the earth (Genesis 2:15).” 

Eastern students and staff recycle on campus and have won a Department of Environmental Protection “Rush to Recycle Challenge.”

Eastern students led an initiative several years ago to buy wind energy that is still going strong, with the university purchasing more than 30 percent of its power from wind energy. Students voluntarily pay a small fee towards this increased cost.

Eastern environmental forums on campus have addressed issues such as renewable energy, global warming and transportation alternatives.

The Rural Malawi Project collects used printer cartridges and recycles them to raise money for an educational community development project in South Eastern Africa.

Eastern won a 2003 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in the Education and Outreach category. Eastern also earned a second 2003 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in the Watershed Stewardship category for its ongoing efforts to improve the Gulph Creek Watershed. A storm water retention and water quality improvement project was completed on campus, funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. This project is helping to significantly reduce storm water runoff from Eastern’s St. Davids campus to Gulph Creek.

A Growing Greener PA Grant has helped fund renewal of the three ponds on campus. These ponds are a vital resource for ecology programs, as well as a community resource for the neighbors and visitors. For example, each summer Eastern brings inner-city children to campus to learn about the environment as part of their summer camp experience.

Gordon College, Wenham, Mass.

Gordon College began its recycling program in 1989. Today, the campus recycles all of the following: paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, metal, glass, plastic, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, televisions, computer monitors, mattresses, tires, ink cartridges and cell phones. In 2005, Gordon recycled 30 percent of its waste.

The college offers an environmental studies minor and has adopted a section of highway in the Adopt-a-Highway program.

Leo Cleary, a locksmith for Gordon College’s (MA) Physical Plant, has researched and built his own bio-diesel processor for a 1981 Volkswagen rabbit. The car uses used fry-ladle oil from the college student center to create bio-diesel. Cleary uses the car to commute from his home in Gloucester to the Wenham campus a few times a month, and would like to see Gordon students use this green car as an educational device for environmental awareness.

Judson College, Elgin, Ill.

The construction of the new Harm A. Weber Academic Center is anticipated to be one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its kind in the U.S. Its “green”design includes the use of a building-integrated photovoltaic energy system and other “green” features like natural ventilation and natural daylighting. The building is designed to minimize operational costs while providinga healthy environment for study and work. Fossil fuel use will be cut by approximately 50 percent, as the building makes the most of fresh air ventilation in the spring and fall, allowing the building to run naturally, with little or no mechanical intervention, for six or more months of the year. The system also cuts environmental ‘costs’, as it allows the building to release considerably less harmful CFC’s (chloro-fluorocarbons) into the community.

Other initiatives on Judson’s campus follow:


  • Full-scale campus recycling program
  • Appointed a “Green” officer to the Judson Student Organization
  • Developed a major in Environmental Studies and expanded programs in biology.
  • Held all-campus clean-up days and “Green” chapel series.
  • Restoring the banks of Tyler Creek, running through the center of our campus.
  • Restoring native plants and removing invasive plants throughout campus
  • Replacing all lights on campus with brighter, more energy-efficient bulbs.
  • Public safety team patrolling campus on bikes rather than vehicles during the spring, summer and fall.


Messiah College, Grantham, Pa.

Messiah College (PA) students have been working their way toward energy-efficiency at their own cost. In the 2004-2005 academic year, $2 per student from the student activity fee was put toward a purchase of wind energy. The total, $11,200, covered 2.5 percent of the college’s energy needs, enough to power either an apartment building or the entire Philadelphia extension campus. The students repeated the purchase commitment for the 2005-2006 year.

Mount Ver

non Nazarene University , Mount Vernon, Ohio

MVNU is currently undergoing an energy audit with the energy conservation group Limbach Co. Windows have been replaced in several residence halls in order to gain maximum energy efficiency. The university is currently awaiting the full results of the energy audit and will work with Limbach on implementing further initiatives across campus.

A recent computer programmed heating/cooling system was installed in order to maintain better energy efficiency when students, faculty, and staff are not using campus.

MVNU recycles paper, plastic, cardboard, and aluminum cans across campus.

Northwest University, Kirkland, Wash.

Northwest University’s Applied Science Center specifically exists to develop understanding of science that promotes a stewardship mentality in defining and bringing solutions to stressed peoples and environments around the world. The Center provides opportunities for education, training, and the development of professional services. The Center purposes to develop and maintain programs of instruction, research and professional service which provide opportunities to:


  • Develop skills in a variety of ecosystems by making available experiences in environments in and beyond the Pacific Northwest.
  • Relationships have been established with the Au Sable Institute which provides education and field access across the United States, India, Africa, and other sites.
  • Access is also provided to Central American environments through the association with the Latin America Studies Program of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, ECHO in Florida specializing in tropical food production technologies, and other agencies like Jaquar Creek in Honduras;
  • Provide opportunities for Stewardship activities through local community activities and the Student Environmental Stewardship Club;
  • Provide awareness of national professional and student associations to connect students to peers with like interests;
  • Form networking relationships with agencies, schools, colleges, seminaries, students, and professionals, to expedite cross-cultural and technically valid interactions;
  • Identify, develop, and share with others skills which facilitate the dissemination of stewardship information and technologies;
  • Assist in placing students into educational opportunities including graduate studies and field opportunities.


Northwest also offers a bachelors degree in environmental science.

Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa

Northwestern College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team has been working for more than three years on an aqua-science project that ultimately aims to help Third-World families raise fish and grow vegetables through a self-sustaining system. Aftert wo years in the research and development phase, the team constructed a greenhouse, refined the design of a kit that requires only sunlight and water, and experimented with fish and plants concurrently. SIFE is working with Christian mission organizations to define more specifically how the kit can be used. The team’s goal is to be able to sell the finished product to mission groups for less than $500.

Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma, Calif.

PLNU has shown acommitment for protecting the environment, as evidenced by its recent 3rd place finish in the nation-wide Recyclemania! Contest. Additionally, PLNU finished as the top school in the nation in the Waste Minimization category, with a rate of only 35 pounds per person.

Theuniversity’s recent Creation Care Week (Sept.25-Oct. 1) included presentations from the Environmental Health Coalition and local environmental organizations, an electronics recycling drive, a beach clean-up event and more.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 180 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. There are now 105 member campuses in North America and all are fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 75 affiliate campuses from 24 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help its institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.

Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, N.Y.

At Roberts Wesleyan College, interest in environmental stewardship has pervaded the whole campus in recent years. Faculty and staff are engaged in a major paper recycling program that has halved campus contributions to the landfill. In addition, Roberts Wesleyan sorts and recycles all cardboard, copper, aluminum, brass, and steel.Computers and peripherals are also collected and recycled, as well as fluorescent light bulbs.

Students started an ecology club last year, and have helped the campus grounds staff work toward meeting standards for Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program.They are landscaping with native plants that will provide good homes for insects, birds and other wildlife. 

Perhaps most noteworthy is the geothermal heating and cooling system included in the construction of Roberts Wesleyan’s new library, due for completion in the summer 2007. The deep-underground loop system takes advantage of the near-constant temperature of the earth, providing natural heat in the winter anda cooling effect in the summer. Other energy-savvy design elementsof the B. Thomas Golisano Library will be:


  • The building will be oriented with the longer sides on the north and south in order to take optimum advantage of the sun;
  • External building features on the south side will serve both to avoid direct exposure of persons and collections to the sun and to direct reflected natural light further into the core of the building; and
  • Window space will be minimized on the western end of the building.


All of these measures are based on the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system that awards points for features and practices that save energy, protect the environment, and promote healthful interior spaces. The Golisano Library will be oneof a handful of academic libraries to achieve LEED certification.

The college also purchases 500 seedling trees per year that when grown to 5-6 feett all are planted during Arbor Day time or in the fall. During the last 20 years alone, Roberts Wesleyan has planted more than 4,000 trees and shrubs on RWC campus. 

The college is phasing in the use of synthetic lubricants for our engines, transmissions, and hydraulic systems, that require much less frequent change times dramatically reducing the amount of waste oil we are producing.

Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Wash. 

Seattle Pacific University’s Science Building, which opened in Sept. 2003, is one of the first buildings in Seattle certified by the U.S. Green Building Council to receive a LEED silver status. Ninety-three percent of the construction waste was recycled, including materials from the demolition of Tiffany and Green Halls. More than 50 percent of Tiffany Hall’s exterior bricks are being used as pavers around the new Science Building andTiffany Loop area.

Taylor University, Upland, Ind. 

For several January-Terms, Dr. Mike Guebert has led groups of Taylor students to Guatemala to drill drinking wells for villages.

Taylor also offers both a bachelors and a masters degree in environmental science.

Stewards of Creation (SOC) is a Taylor University Club that seeks to glorify God through the care and protection of His earth. This is a non-partisan student group that performs projects and service in an effort to inform and educate both the Taylor campus and the surrounding community. The club tries to promote activities that not only benefit the natural environment but also make a difference in the lives of the people in our nearby communities.

Waynesburg College, Waynesburg, Pa. 

Students and faculty are engaged in a Christian mission of environmental stewardships and participate in various local and national activities which provide service to the environment. This year during our Spring Break service learning trip, we will work with Mammoth Caves National Park. 

Waynesburg College was the first college within the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of PA (AICUP) to address the issue of hazardous substances campus-wide, and voluntarily developed an inventory and protection program to submit to the USEPA.

Biology Club students are engaged in various service and educational activities which promote environmental stewardship and scientific awareness.  As members of the World Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Program, the club promotes campus sustainability, including campus-wide recycling of paper, aluminum, plastics and glass. Thecollege also initiated a carbon emissions inventory and various campaigns to promote environmental literacy among students and faculty.

Environmental Club students participate in environmental awareness campaigns concerning both local and global issues on both the campus and in the community, and are activists in the development of national environmental policies. As members of the Student Coalition of the Sierra Club, students participate in various regional meetings which address current environmental issues, including the use of coal as an energy source.

Faculty and students are involved in various research activities to address current environmental issues in Greene County PA, including ecological impacts of coal mining, acid mine drainage, environmental restoration, stream bed stabilization, sustainable agriculture, impacts of atmospheric emissions from coal-fired power plants, and clean coal initiatives.

Students attended a meeting sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment on the development of sustainable energy alternatives in Washington, D.C. last January. Students were actively involved in this Environmental Policy meeting as official notetakers. 

Waynesburg College is a member of the academic advisory board for the Au Sable Institute, which promotes academic excellence in environmental studies, and relates these issues to our role as scientists in the care of God’s creation.

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