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Sustainability Events

How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate: A Conversation with Dr. Andrew Hoffman

Date: Wednesday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Location: Aquinas College Wege Student Center, Wege Ballroom (top floor)

Though the scientific community largely agrees that climate change is underway, debates about this issue remain fiercely polarized. This cultural divide no longer concerns carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, or climate modeling; rather, it is the product of contrasting, deeply entrenched worldviews. This brief examines what causes people to reject or accept the scientific consensus on climate change. "How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate" makes a powerful case for a more scientifically literate public, a more socially engaged scientific community, and a more thoughtful mode of public discourse. ANDREW HOFFMAN is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. >View the event poster.

Off-Campus Events:

West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnerships Ignite!
Date: May 18, 2015

Cost: $18.00

The Community Sustainability Partnerships of West Michigan, which include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Spring Lake/Grand Haven, Holland, Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor/St. Joseph invite you to their IGNITE event on May 18th. The event will start at 1:18 p.m. and end at 5:18 p.m. and will be held at GVSU Eberhard Center. There will be approximately twelve 15 minute presentations that will inspire the audience to ignite and amplify the environmental, social and economic nexus of sustainability. We will showcase some of West Michigan's best practices and ideas.


Permaculture Design Certificate Course with Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture

Date: May 30 to June 6, 2015

Location: Hastings, Michigan (Pierce Cedar Creek Institute)

The Permaculture Design Certificate course led by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture ( will help participants understand permaculture concepts and develop their own permaculture designs. Topics will include food production, home design and construction, energy conservation and generation, and social and economic issues that all support a culture that cares for the planet and its inhabitants. The course will primarily take place at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute with visits to local farms and additional instruction by local permaculturists Brian and Josh Shultz. Participants who complete the course earn a Permaculture Design Certificate. Many colleges and universities accept this course for credits. The course requires study prior to the beginning of class. Lodging is available at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Registration Deadline is May 1, 2015. All meals are included.

AASHE 2015

Date: October 25-28, 2015

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo, themed Transforming Sustainability Education, will convene a diverse group of campus representatives including faculty, students, sustainability officers, staff, administrators and presidents together with business, non-profit, government and community members for a sustainable celebration. In the “City by Nature,” a culturally and historically diverse place for thousands of years located on the Dakota homelands, with exquisite green spaces and a cosmopolitan urban culture, we will gather for a look back and into the future to examine:

  • How higher education institutions can come together to lead campus and community transformation on local, regional and global levels
  • How we can work across disciplines and cultures to lead the charge on identifying educational strategies and solutions for advancing campus and community sustainability efforts
  • How we can create learning and teaching opportunities that allow students and community members to work together on current environmental, social and economic issues

Expected to draw approximately 2,100 participants, AASHE’s annual conference remains the largest stage in North America for sharing effective models, policies, research, collaborations and transformative actions which advance sustainability in higher education and beyond.

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

Sustainability News

Aquinas ranks high on the Princeton Review list >Read the GRBJ article
The Princeton Review released its sixth-annual “Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition” this month, recognizing Aquinas College among the top colleges with exceptional commitments to sustainability. The educational opportunities and sustainability initiatives at over 2,000 colleges were reviewed and 353 college and universities made the cut. Noteworthy Aquinas programs that contributed to our ranking include the zero waste initiative, local food purchasing, LEED buildings, and others. >View the Guide
April is Energy Month! >Download the poster

Starting tomorrow April 1st the Aquinas College is launching into energy month. Join us in taking time to be considerate of energy usage. Look for posters of our energy campaigns “Be Bold, Wash Cold”, “Flip the Switch”, and “Don’t Standby: Unplug”. Taking simple steps and making small choices can create a difference!

Related to these initiatives is a competition for the apartments to reduce energy. We will be analyzing both electric and natural gas usage. The apartment with the greatest percent decrease in energy is eligible to be entered into a drawing to win a “chill” prize.

Follow the events regarding energy and sustainability through the course of the month!

Give Your Opinion of the Community Garden
Consider taking this garden survey to have a stake in this fruitful part of campus. Click here to take the survey. You must have an ELM password to take the survey.
Make Your Own Terracycle Box
Want to help AQ reach zero waste by 2014? Start by making a personal Terracycle collection box! Download and print out the label, and start collecting everyday waste such as snack bags and candy wrappers. When your box is full, simply empty it at your nearest Terracycle station!
Results of the Community Garden vote at Homecoming
At Aquinas' homecoming, you were asked to vote on the next crop to incorporate into our community garden. The options were: Strawberries, Potatoes, and Squash and the voting results from Homecoming are in! The winner was Strawberries by a long shot, with 301 votes. Potatoes came in second with 87 votes and squash in third with 38 votes. Spring can't be here soon enough.
Zero Waste Success at Homecoming
The zero waste team was busy at Homecoming 2014 (September 27) to help alums properly sort waste during campus activities. Because of their hard work, we achieved a 90% diversion rate (by weight). Congrats AQ and a big thank you to all volunteers!
RecycleMania 2014: AQ is Best in the State

Over the last two months RecycleMania has been taking place at Aquinas as well as on college campuses across the country. During this year’s 14th annual national tournament, 461 schools participated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. That represents more than 5.3 million students and over 1.2 million faculty and staff!


Schools competed in 11 categories to see which institution can:

  1. Recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans/bottles, and food waste on a per capita basis;
  2. Produce the least amount of waste; and
  3. Recycle the largest percentage of their overall waste stream.


The top category, Grand Champion, combines trash and each of the core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation.

The results for this year are in:

  • National Grand Champion Ranking: Aquinas took seventh place. (In 2013, Aquinas took 78th place.)
  • State of Michigan Grand Champion Ranking: Aquinas took first place. (In 2013, Aquinas took second place.) We competed against Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Albion College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Kendall College of Art and Design, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Western Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College.

Great job Aquinas faculty, staff and students! We applaud your effort in working to recycle, compost and use the special collections on campus. Continue to be selective about your waste stream and help us reach our goal of Zero Waste by 2014. To view AQ’s performance in other RecycleMania categories, visit

Greener Grads: Donate Your Gown
Join Greener Grads in our goal to recover, repurpose and reuse one million graduation gowns this year. Together we can reduce the mass production and breathe new life into old gowns. Donate your gown after graduation, and we will make sure it gets a new life, stays out of the landfill and keeps our planet healthy and green. It may seem like a small contribution to you, but every gown counts.

A collection bin will be in place at Aquinas’ graduation ceremony, but you can also drop off your gown anytime to the Center for Sustainability (AB 255). Learn more here.

AQ Featured in Princeton Review
We are pleased to report that Aquinas College was selected for inclusion in the 2014 edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.” This one-of-a-kind resource -- published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council - is the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability. Check it out!
AQ Community Garden

There is a new location for the community garden! It is now located east of the AMC. The goal is to have two, 4x8 ft raised beds managed in square foot gardening style.  A Square Foot Garden does not use any fertilizer or have any weeds because one type of plant is grown within a square foot, and the soil mixture used does not contain weed seed. Also the raised beds allow people who have difficulties tending a regular garden, an opportunity to garden easier.

Gardens are a great use of land area. They filter rainwater, restore oxygen to the air, and provide a place to put your compost. Community gardens provide an opportunity to meet new people and build relationships in a relaxed environment, because gardening is a form of stress relief!

We are looking for committed garden volunteers, who are able to spend one day a week (Monday – Friday) to help water and weed the garden throughout the summer. Ideally, we will have two volunteers scheduled for each week day (i.e. 2 every Monday, 2 every Tuesday, etc…). You can complete your garden work anytime during the day, and it should not take more than 30 minutes to an hour. If you have any interest in being a “serious” garden volunteer and committing to at least 30 minutes each week, please send a confirmation email to Jessica Eimer at indicating: How many hours per week you plan to volunteer, as well as possible days and times of the week that you are able to work in the garden.

Important Volunteer Notes: 1. Volunteers must gain approval from their supervisors, if they are volunteering during their shifts. 2. Staff/Faculty members can work on the garden during normal business hours, but they cannot be officially on college time. Hourly employees must punch out, and all employees are still expected to complete their weekly hours.

AQ Bike Auction
Do you have a bike that you no longer want? Here is your chance to get rid of it. The Aquinas College Campus Safety online bike auction will once again be open to all staff, faculty and students. However, this year you have the opportunity to bring your old or unused bike in and have it auctioned off. There will be a $5 entry fee for every bike you wan tin the auction, but all money made on the bike will go directly to you. This is your chance to clean out the garage, she or porch and finally get rid of that bike no one rides. Bike condition is not important, all bikes will be sold "as is" and may be inspected by potential buyers. For more info or to sign up you rbike, please e-mail Ryan at or call (616) 632-2449. This year's online auction will take place from April 21 - May 2 on the Campus Safety website. All bikes must be entered into the auction by Friday, April 11 at 4 p.m. Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity.
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