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Sustainability at the Forefront

Sustainability at the Forefront

Golden Knights’ commitment to sustainability and environmentalism was reflected in recent on-campus initiatives, spearheaded across departments and focus areas by students and faculty.

One initiative, a capstone project completed by three members of the Class of 2021, provided an opportunity to identify areas of potential growth and improvement within the Marianapolis community, undertake research, and deliver a professional and technical pitch to members of the administration. A greenhouse on campus being used for storage became the focus of the initiative. With the administration’s approval and a budget in hand, students set out to revitalize the space, creating an herb garden to benefit the community. Using recyclable materials, including two-by-fours and discarded pieces of plastic tubing, the group built planters inside the greenhouse. They planted perennials -- oregano, thyme, and lavender -- to ensure a steady supply of herbs during the coming year and beyond. Harvests will be provided to Sage Dining for use in the preparation of meals in the dining hall, helping to localize our food system.

Another recent initiative, led by Marianapolis’ Director of Technology, Jim Zientek, ensured the environmentally conscious disposal of broken and obsolete electronic equipment on campus. After coordinating with a recycling company, Zientek enlisted the help of faculty and Green Council members to assist with organizing and loading the recycled equipment.

In an upcoming project, members of the community will be working to turn a small plot of land on campus into a pollinator garden for butterflies and bees, promoting biodiversity in the area. Members of the Green Council will begin installation in the coming weeks, with a goal of readying the space for the opening of the academic year. During orientation, current Green Knights and those interested in joining the group will have the opportunity to assist with planting and mulching, kicking off the year with sustainability at the forefront.

Wes Howard, Director of Sustainability, noted that these initiatives speak to the “holistic integration of sustainability at Marianapolis.” In Howard’s words: “We want to ensure that sustainability is not only associated with the Green Knights, the Green Council, or specific faculty members. It’s something we can all be integrating into our best practices. At Marianapolis, we have a critical mass of individuals that care deeply about sustainability, so our efforts have crossed the threshold from theoretical to tangible, actionable items.” Golden Knights are committed to improving our campus, the local community, and the world by taking good ideas and making them a reality. When that happens, noted Howard, students gain “an understanding of what they can accomplish when they make a decision and put their mind to it. And that’s an exciting prospect for the future -- it presents a great opportunity to make sustainability and stewardship an even larger part of our life here at Marianapolis.”