“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in an undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
Environmental and social responsibility is an important part of Mercyhurst University's mission. We're committed to educating our students and our community about living more green lifestyles to ensure a sustainable future. We encourage ongoing participation in recycling and energy conservation, offer a Sustainability Studies minor and major and provide the Mercyhurst community with multiple ways to get involved in sustainability projects and activities.
There’s a lot of talk about sustainability–but what is it really? The concept of sustainability emerged in the 1970s, but was first used in the context of global resource conservation in the 1987 United Nations report titled, “Our Common Future," in which sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Office Location: Egan 305
Currently, Mercyhurst offers a Sustainability Minor and Major, a Sustainability Studies Concentration within the Chemistry and Biology departments. In adition, Introduction to Sustainability Studies is a course open to all students.
Looking for the Graduate Sustainability Concentration, click here!
In the spring of 2008, the Green Energy Fund approved the first two projects: purchase of a solar safety-emergency lighting system, and increasing the percentage of campus electricity coming from wind farms from 10 percent to 30 percent.
The fund is administered by a Review Board consisting of students, staff, and faculty. The review board meets periodically to review proposals, which may be submitted by any Erie Campus member.
Additional projects that have been funded include partial funding of the Green Roof located on Zurn Hall, an educational Kiosk for the Green Roof, the increase in our wind offset purchase to 100% of the Erie Campus electricity consumption and continued annual purchase, plastic reusable To-Go meal containers for Egan Dining Hall replacing the disposable containers two years in a row, purchase of two Earth Tub composters, the move of the Erie Campus solar panels to the West County farm property, and the purchase of a carbon accounting software that will assist with maintenance of the campus Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.
In October 2007, Mercyhurst University President Thomas Gamble joined several hundred college and university presidents in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Driven by the international scientific consensus that addressing the worst impacts of global warming necessitates a minimum goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050, the Climate Commitment obligates all signatories to a goal of carbon neutrality for their institutions. It immediately compels each institution to conduct a comprehensive inventory of greenhouse gases emitted, by the institution itself and by their employees and students. It further requires each college or university to develop a thorough, methodical and incremental plan for reducing greenhouse gases.
Mercyhurst’s greenhouse gas emissions study has been completed, with Dr. Michael Campbell, professor of biology, leading his field ecology students in this project.
Mercyhurst's Climate Action Plan has been approved!
To view the President's Climate Commitment website, click here.
The Geothermal system uses a fluid, like water, to help with heat exchange. The water flows from the building through pipes into the ground, where the heat exchange occurs and then flows back into the building. When the building needs cooled, the water is already warm from the building’s temperature; it flows into the ground where the heat from the water is lost to the cooler surrounding surfaces. The water flows back into the building where the mechanical part of the system uses the temperature from the cooler water and using an air circulating system cools the building. During cooler months, the water is cooler and pulls heat from the surrounding warmer surfaces as it is pumped through the ground and back into the building. The warmer water is then used to heat the building with the air circulation system.
Since the mid-1990s, for example, Mercyhurst has been a regional pioneer in demonstrating the environmental and financial benefits of geothermal heating and cooling, which uses the constant temperature of the earth as a renewable energy source and then uses electricity to distribute the temperature by air throughout a building to either heat or cool. This form of geothermal heat exchange produces an average of 50-70% fewer carbon emissions.
As of the summer 2011, this solar panel system has been moved out to the Mercyhurst Farm, located in Girard, PA due to the construction of the CAE building at the front of campus.
"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait 'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
- Thomas Edison
In 2008, with help from the Green Team and funding from the Green Energy Fund, the percentage of our wind purchase was increased from 10% to 30%.
In July 2010, Mercyhurst University finally increased this purchase to cover 100% of our electricity consumption. This purchase yields a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions due to electricity used on campus. With electricity being the highest cause of greenhouse gas emissions on campus. With electricity being the highest cause of greenhouse gas emissions on campus, this is a very important step to reaching carbon neutrality.
The university offsets about 7000 Metric Tons of carbon emissions due to our electricity consumption on the Erie Campus through a wind power purchase. This offset purchase supports national wind projects.
As a purchaser of green power, Mercyhurst University has joined other colleges, universities and other businesses as an EPA Green Power Partner.
In 2009, Mercyhurst University’s Tim Boucher, Marlene Cross, and Mike Campbell lead the development of a sustainable university farm at Mercyhurst West in Girard, Pa. The farm project was made possible by a $25,000 funding allowance granted by the university. The Mercyhurst Farm, now located on the Mercyhurst North East campus, grows a variety of vegetables and fruits on about 5-10 acres.
The Mercyhurst Farm supplies our on-campus food provider (Parkhurst Dining Services) with fresh vegetables and herbs, which are served in dining hall meals during the summer and in the fall semester of the school year. A farmer market is held on campus throughout the months of June through October, selling fresh produce to our staff, faculty and students. Various Mercyhurst University students are often introduced to the university’s sustainability studies through the volunteering program at the farm and in-class projects and research connected with the farm.
Follow these guidelines and suggestions for recycling to start making a difference today!
Students :: see your RA/HD/AD if you need a recycling bin.
Employees :: Whenever possible, use Blackboard, email and Library Electronic Reserve as a means of reducing paper use.
Students :: Contact us if you would like to volunteer or if you have ideas on how we can strengthen the recycling program at Mercyhurst.
Tips to Reduce your Footprint
Eating less meat has numerous health benefits in addition to environmental benefits. Reducing your meat consumption can help fight diabetes, reduce risk of cancer and reduce your carbon footprint. By cutting out meat one day a week, you can make a difference. Click here for more information and recipe ideas.
By eating local, you are able to get fresh, quality produce that came from nearby, instead of produce that has been trucked across the country. You are also supporting local farmers and reducing your environmental impact. If you want to eat locally, start with Local Harvest. This site will help you find farmers’ markets, restaurants using local ingredients, meat processors and more.
Energy & Water Conservation
Tips for Saving Money on Your Energy Bill
Tips for Saving Money on Your Water Bill