What We’re Doing
We at Houghton are actively looking for ways to change the way we do things here in order to become better stewards of what God has given us. Many of these changes save us money in the long run. Others may cost a little bit extra but will help us to implement more environmentally sustainable practices. Here is a partial listing of some of the things that we are doing to show better stewardship of God’s Creation.
Safety and Security
- Turn off all unnecessary lights on a nightly basis, saving 320 kwh (~$32) per night.
- Shift reports and cross reference records for keys are stored electronically instead of using paper copies
- We turn down the heat and close any open windows during college breaks.
- An electronic appeal process for parking tickets is used, saving a tremendous amount of carbonless duplicate paper.
- Key agreement forms have been changed to eliminate the need for a carbon sheet. We’ve also added the capacity for multiple keys on the same agreement, again saving much paper.
- All trays have been removed from the cafeteria, saving water, soap, and energy.
- Single serve napkin dispensers have been placed on each table
Creation Care Task Force
- Sponsors shuttle service for off-campus faculty/staff events
- In April, we’ll be sponsoring a tree seedling planting to help reclaim almost 1 acre of grass.
- Beginning an “adopt a tree” program where alumni, faculty, staff, students, or community members can contribute funds towards the purchase, planting and care of a mature sapling.
- In conjunction with Troy and Banks, an energy consulting firm, we will be implementing a voluntary “brown out” program which could potentially reduce our overall electric usage and lower the rate that we pay for electricity.
- Working on a comprehensive tree planting plan for all parts of campus.
- We use canister vacuum cleaners in several buildings, saving an estimated 300 vacuum bags from the trash each year.
- We switched our toilet tissue and paper towel supplier to Cascades/North River brand. Not only are they manufactured in New York State, but they are also Green Seal certified, with chlorine-free processing and a minimum 60% post consumer content.
Student Programs/Student Government
- Highly visible recycling containers have been placed in public areas of each major building on campus, including extra bins that are placed out for public functions such as athletic matches.
Java 101- (on campus, privately owned coffee shop)
- Uses only organic, free trade coffee
- Uses cups made from recycled paper
- Art: Using a collaborative research grant, Professor Gary Baxter is working with students to develop ceramic glazes that will work at lower kiln temperatures, saving energy.
- Art: Professor Ted Murphy recorded the progression of seasonal change in watercolors done from life as part of his gallery show in January 2009.
- Australian Studies: Students and faculty planted flower beds in Melbourne as part of their fall, 2008 semester in Australia.
- Biology: Professor Jim Wolfe and students continue their research at Star Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Their fall semester program includes a strong emphasis on understanding and preserving the environment.
- Biology: Professor Aaron Sullivan and students continue their research on local amphibian populations.
- Biology: The biology department collaborates with faculty in other disciplines to offer a biology major with an environmental studies emphasis. Biology also offers a major with a new forestry emphasis.
- Biology, Chemistry, and Physics: Faculty members have prepared a first-year honors program that will focus on alternative energy, of which a major topic will be sustainability.
- Communication: Professor Doug Gaerte reports that a student intern is videotaping and photographing renovations to the Angelica school that will turn it into a conference center and hotel. The visual documentation will help verify that the work meets requirements for LEED certification and will be used as a training video for other groups seeking LEED certification.
- Communication: Professor Daniel Minchen includes issues of sustainability and creation care in his Marketing Principles class; discussing socially responsible marketing, the social value of creation care in products and marketing, and how to help people get past the sticker shock of environmentally responsible vehicles.
- Communication: Professor Daniel Minchen is also working on radio or television interviews for Dr. Matthew Sleeth during his visit in March.
- Communication: Professor David Huth is preparing a video project on creation care, including interviews with Dr. Sleeth.
- English: Professor Jack Leax and Professor Jim Zoller continue to write on creation and its care.
- Intercultural Studies, Psychology, and Sociology: Students have worked on urban gardening projects in Buffalo.
- Physical Education supports, promotes, and enables the use of trails for hiking, skiing, and snowshoe hiking.
- Political Science: Professor Peter Meilaender redid his Introduction to Political Thought course so that questions about the relationship between nature and convention serve as an organizing theme for the semester, using the metaphor of gardening as a central theme.
- Psychology: Professor Paul Young developed a PowerPoint slide show on Eco-Driving, which has been incorporated into the driver’s training required of all people who operate college vehicles.
- Psychology: Students in Professor Paul Young’s statistics classes have analyzed utility bills for the college to prepare answers for a report to the Presidents Climate Commitment. They have also analyzed the carbon sequestration in Houghton Forest, the carbon footprint of Houghton’s international programs, and the distance travelled by commuters.