Strategic Planning and Policies
The impact of humans on the environment is of growing concern around the world as awareness of the finiteness of resources becomes more apparent. Businesses of all types, institutions, and homeowners are seeking ways to live and operate more sustainably. In 2006, college and university presidents recognized the importance of building sustainability into the very fabric of their institutions if they were going to successfully prepare students as future leaders for the 21st century. The result was the formation of the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). By joining this effort, colleges and universities pledge to exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to reduce global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to lead this effort towards climate neutrality. More Information.
Mary Ann Baenninger, the President of the College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and a member of the ACUPCC Leadership Circle, signed the ACUPCC in 2007 in support of the College's commitment to stewardship and the principles of sustainability: our overarching goals are to manage the campus so that actions are ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable today and will continue to be so for future generations. As part of this Commitment, CSB has agreed to become climate neutral by 2035.
In 2008, the CSB Stewardship Council developed a plan for action and submitted it in accordance with the requirements of the ACUPCC. The Stewardship Council recommended that CSB hire a Director of Sustainability to oversee sustainability efforts on campus. In 2010, CSB opened an Office of Sustainability and hired a Director.
The Sustainability Council oversees the development and implementation of the Sustainability Master Plan.
Sustainability Master Planning Process
The Council began plan development with a visioning process centered on the following question: Envision a campus where sustainability is the norm. What do you see? Through this process, the Council identified the following areas as priorities for inclusion in the master plan: responsible consumption, sustainable facilities, transport, food & dining, partnership and outreach, grounds, and curriculum. The Plan is now being developed - we anticipate its formal acceptance in the Fall 2012.
Task Force Initiatives
Bottled Water Initiative
The Bottled Water Initiative was convened to examine the issue of plain drinking water in plastic bottles.
Recycling Task Force
Since landfill disposal is one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place and the amount that is land filled are important in our overall efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Historically, CSB has recycled 37% of all waste generated. For comparison, the average recycling rate in the United States is 32%, in Minnesota, 43% and our companion school, St. John's University, recycles 29%. CSB is recycling at a respectable rate but we feel we can improve this rate over the next 5 years with a streamlined collection system and educational efforts.
The goal of the Recycling Task Force is to improve the efficiency of the recycling system at CSB. Currently, our system is fully source-separated which means that each recycled item is collected separately and each campus building has its own a system of collection points, bins and labeling. Bins are of various shapes and sizes and labeling is inconsistent. Users find this system confusing; the confusion creates frustration which in turn, reduces participation and increases cross-contamination in the bins. After a thorough review, the Task Force has recommended a shift to a dual-sort recycling system; fibers (paper and cardboard) are collected in one container, rigids (cans, glass, plastic bottles) in a second container, and garbage in a third.
Sustainable Building Task Force
The Sustainable Building Task Force has just begun its work.
Student Printing Policy
As part of our ongoing commitment to responsible consumption and conserving resources, CSB/SJU will implement a new Student Printing Policy for all students, student clubs and organizations beginning August 31st, 2011. See the policy details.