Sustainability Initiative at Aquinas College

Sustainability News & Events

Sustainability Events (on-campus)

Saint Swap
Date: October 23, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Wege Ballroom
Fast fashion has a significant environmental impact and our local community has visible need for apparel! Sponsored by the Center for Sustainability, the second annual “Saint Swap” event will help shrink your environmental footprint and support our community. Downsize your closet by donating 2 apparel items in order to be able to choose 1 “new-to-you” piece at the main Saint Swap event on October 23 (11am to 3pm, Wege Ballroom). All apparel items are accepted, such as adult clothing, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, hats, scarves, gloves, ties, jackets, and purses/wallets. Donations can now be dropped off in a bag or box labeled with your name and email to AB 253. NOTE: If you don’t leave contact information on your donations, we will not know who to assign the credits to!. Your donations will be processed and you will be notified of the number of items you can select at the Saint Swap event. All extra, donated apparel after the event will clothe West Michigan families through our community partner: In The Image! Contact Rachel McCurdy for more information:

Sustainability Brown Bag: Vikings, Volcanoes, & Valkyries: Observations from Iceland
October 25, 2019 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Wege Student Center, Loutit Room
Profs. Ramussen and Gunnoe will offer highlights from their May 2019 travel course to Iceland with ten brave valkyries and two intrepid berserkers.  After briefly framing the historical and geographical context, the talk will note the larger climate and consciousness of sustainability in Iceland. We plan to leave plenty of time for Q&A from both the faculty and students about the larger EF experience. Warning: There will be pictures of amazing scenery that will make you want to drop everything and travel to Iceland. Feel free to bring your sack lunch.

Race to Zero Waste
Dates: February 3- March 1, 2020
The Race to Zero Waste (formerly known as the Great Guru Garbage Games) is a friendly competition of zero waste advocates fighting to prove that their building is THE zero waste champion to beat! There is both a student category and a faculty/staff category, with the champion in each category winning the traveling sustainability trophy.

Sustainability Brown Bag: The Future of AQ's Urban Forest, A Conversation Session
November 5, 2019 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Wege Student Center, Loutit Room
The urban forest on the grounds of Aquinas College is a distinctive feature of our campus. As such, it should be managed as a valuable asset. An effort is underway to put a structure and plan in place to manage AQ's urban forest, beginning with a Campus Tree Advisory Committee (C-TAC), a Campus Tree Care Plan, and an application to achieve the "Tree Campus USA" designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. Goals have been drafted for both the C-TAC and managing our campus trees. At this Brown Bag session, Jessica Eimer Bowen will briefly share progress to date, but the majority of the time will be devoted to conversation and feedback with/from attendees.

"Is this Recyclable?": A Zero Waste Training Session
November 19, 2019 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Wege Student Center, Loutit Room
Aquinas is committed to becoming a zero waste campus and has been aggressively working on the zero waste initiative since 2012. Not only is sustainability the right thing to do, but it’s also an integral part of Aquinas’ identity and helps our students build sustainable life skills. If you still are unsure of how to sort your waste or have questions about our zero waste initiative, please come to one of our training sessions scheduled for the fall semester. The Center for Sustainability will discuss why we are committed to zero waste and cover the basics of sorting waste. The options are as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 9th- 3:30pm to 4:30pm (AB 258)
  • Tuesday, November 19th- 12:30pm to 1:30pm (Loutit Room, Wege Student Center)

"We All Live Here" Service Day
April 22, 2020
The clean up day brings together students, staff and faculty in celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day. Crews of Aquinas community members will complete projects to honor our beautiful campus and take care of our earth. All Aquinas students, staff, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to participate during morning shifts, afternoon shifts, or both.

Off-Campus Events:

2019 AASHE Conference and Expo
Dates: October 27 - 30, 2019
Location: Spokan, WA
Expected to draw approximately 2,000 participants, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE’s) annual conference is the largest stage in North America to exchange effective models, policies, research, collaborations and transformative actions that advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities. We invite you to join us and share your knowledge, achievements and ideas.

With a theme of Co-Creating a Sustainable Economy, AASHE 2019 is tackling the root cause for the continued rise in carbon emissions: our dysfunctional economic system. The conference seeks to showcase and strengthen higher education’s contributions to the movement for a sustainable economy, which we see as inclusive of the exciting work happening under a variety of other names such as the solidarity economy, wellbeing economy, circular economy, post-growth economy, regenerative economy and restorative economy. >More information

Sustainability News

Tip the Scale Waste Competition Winners
The final results of the Tip the Scale Waste Competition are in! Congratulations to Regina Hall on winning the competition this year. Regina won with a 47.56% diversion rate, while St. Joe's finished with 42.57%. Regina will hold the student travelling sustainability trophy until the next competition.  The winner of this fall's RA Eduction Challenge (and a RocketBook Notebook and solar charger) was Kelli Adrian! She completed an informative bulletin board in her residence hall with a creative Halloween theme. Thanks to all who participated.

Homecoming and Move-In Were Zero Waste Events!
Thanks to the help of dozens of volunteers, first year move-in and homecoming at AQ were zero waste events. Move-in wrapped up with 989.8 lbs of recycling, 38.6 lbs of compost, 38.2 lbs of comforter bag donations, and 65.4 lbs of trash. That computes to an impressive 94% diversion rate! Since 2014, that is our second highest move-in diversion rate. The homecoming zero waste effort was also successful, with a 94.12% diversion rate. Thanks again to our volunteers and extraordinary interns for making it happen.

Looking for more? Visit our News:Archives page for older news about the Center for Sustainability.