Sustainability Initiative at Aquinas College

Sustainability News & Events

Sustainability Events (on-campus)

Your Health in a Changing Climate
Date: March 21, 2019; 6:30-8:00 PM
Location: Aquinas College – Wege Center – Loutit Room
Climate change, together with other natural and human-made health stressors, influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. What is your risk? Join us at the Aquinas College Wege Center - Loutit Room in a collaboration with the Sierra Club of Greater Grand Rapids for a fascinating discussion with our two guests speakers - Dr. Steven Ashmead and Ms. Fatema Mamou. Dr. Steven Ashmead, MD is a certified Family Physician with Mercy Health. He serves on the faculty at the MSU College of Human Medicine and the Mercy Health Family Medicine Residency. He has practiced medicine in GR for 30 years and is a long-time member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Sierra Club. He is also a recent member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Fatema Mamou, MPH is an epidemiologist with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She is an expert in syndromic surveillance systems, which monitor for outbreaks as well as emerging health threats, such as those related to climate. RSVP for this free event (with food) at Facebook. You can also contact Jan at or 616-956-6646. 

Economicology Forum- The Power of Habit: Connections between food choices, identity, culture, and our future
Date: Tuesday, March 26th; 6pm to 7:30pm (Doors/Food at 5:15pm. 6pm-7pm program. 7-7:30pm questions)
Location: Donnelly Center
Speakers: L. Robert Peters Jr., Ph.D.; Associate Professor of Biology, Aquinas College; Jennifer Stewart, Ph.D.; Professor of Sociology, Grand Valley State University
Change is difficult; changing people’s habits- especially food habits- is an even bigger challenge. Food habits have deep meaning and are connected to our individual identity and our cultural identity. A simple ask to change food habits can sometimes feel like a request to stop having an emotional attachment to the person or memories associated with the food. Yet, the choices we make directly impact the ability of mankind to flourish and we are all faced with a global imperative to take action to protect our common home. In this Economicology Forum presentation, GVSU Sociology Professor Jennifer Stewart will explore the deep meaning of food in the American culture, including how the meaning might differ from other cultures across the world. Aquinas’ Biologist Rob Peters will provide some insights into the impacts of our food habits on the environment and even our health. How can we make more sustainable food choices and remain sensitive to cultural traditions? Come and explore this topic with us. >Register Here

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Wege Speaker Series
Date: April 11, 2019
Location: Performing Arts Center, Aquinas College
Climate issues are abuzz in the media these days. But often missing are the disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged communities and people of color. With issues related to access to clean water, healthy food and the impact of severe weather, this discussion is not only relevant but imperative. The event will feature Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, the Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus and former environmental justice leader at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Ali has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, VICE, and Democracy NOW, as well as being featured and cited in over 250 news publications including GQ, New Republic, Ebony, The Guardian, The Root, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. He has been a guest lecturer at over 100 colleges and universities. >More Information

"We All Live Here" Service Day
Date: April 17, 2019
Location: Aquinas College
In celebration of Earth Day, Arbor Day, and the Dominican pillars of community and service, the Aquinas College Infrastructure Sustainability Committee is proud to sponsor "We All Live Here."  Please join us in a day of service dedicated to the care of our common home on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.  Crews of Aquinas community members will complete projects at Marywood and Aquinas to honor our beautiful campuses and take care of our earth. All Aquinas students, staff, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to participate during morning shifts, afternoon shifts, or both. Once you have registered, you will be assigned an activity leader and supplied all the necessary tools. You can even sign up an entire group. Volunteers are encouraged to join us for a complimentary lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Wege Cafeteria. We also need a handful of activity leaders for both morning and afternoon shifts, so please consider signing up for a leadership role. Students: This is a great opportunity to get required volunteer hours! Staff: Hourly staff who participate will receive regular pay, but please seek supervisor approval before signing up for a shift. Participants are required to register here by Sunday, April 14th. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Eimer Bowen.

  • Morning Shift (8:45am to 11:45am): Volunteer to clean and tidy up indoor spaces on campus. We have numerous areas identified by Housekeeping and Residence Life that need some spring cleaning. Sign-up for the morning shift and we will assign you to a department needing extra hands!
  • Afternoon Shift (1pm to 3:45pm): During the afternoon shift, crews of Aquinas community members will complete outdoor  projects. Potential activities include improving wooded paths, picking up trash, and working in the community garden.

To watch videos of previous Economicology events, click here (ELM login required)

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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.