Monday, December 28, 2020

Lebanon Valley College's Commitment To The Environment

By Sakura Ung, Joint House/Senate Conservation Committee Project Manager

The following article first appeared in the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee December newsletter--

Lebanon Valley College is a private college located in Annville, Pennsylvania. LVC, as it’s known, prides itself on offering students comprehensive learning programs that will help them to achieve their goals and launch themselves into successful careers after graduation.

One particular component that LVC is committed to is environmental sustainability. The college states the following on its mission of sustainability: “As a learning institution, Lebanon Valley College embraces the goal of environmental sustainability and commits itself to efforts that will ensure sustainability for our local and global community.”

In order to fulfill this mission, the college focuses on offering students the opportunity to major in Environmental Science or minor in Environmental Studies. 

The academic courses offered within these areas allow students to delve specifically into the topic of environmental sustainability and increase their knowledge and understanding about the environmental challenges we face and potential solutions.

According to LVC, students are also able to learn more about environmental sustainability throughout other academic areas such as art, sociology and economics.

LVC works closely with the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee, which is part of the college. The ESAC is responsible for helping to carry out campus sustainability programs and initiatives. 

Prior to September 2018, the ESAC was known as the Sustainability Advisory Committee. 

LVC noted that the committee was a tremendous asset to achieving some of their environmental goals by “helping the College transition to 100 percent renewable energy, implementing a recycling program, and more.”

One campus initiative that LVC has implemented is Weigh the Waste. Weigh the Waste, which was formerly called, “Experience More, Waste Less,” was established in 2013 by E.A.T. – a research group comprised of students at the college. 

According to the research group, their goal is two-fold: “to improve the dining experience for students and to dissolve the boundaries between the dining and academic spaces on campus.” 

On LVC’s website, E.A.T. states that their focus is to “use data-driven research to assess and promote the goals of ethical reasoning, understanding of diversity, and environmental stewardship.” 

The Weigh the Waste project is a partnership between the ESAC and Metz Culinary Management – the company which provides dining food to the college. The initiative aims to gather data and information on students’ dining habits and how much food is wasted by students eating in the dining hall each semester. 

By sharing the figures and statistics of food waste by students, the hope is that students will practice eating habits that are less wasteful.

Students are also afforded the opportunity to practice sustainable living in their daily lives by residing in the Sustainability House which opened in the fall of 2018.

Some of the sustainable living practices that students are able to engage in include recycling, composting and minimizing their use of water and energy. The concept of the Sustainability House was created by McKenna Lupold, a student at LVC.

LVC students can also become more involved in supporting environmental sustainability by joining the college’s Environmental Club. The Environmental Club seeks to raise awareness about issues surrounding the environment and to directly participate in activities that improve the campus such as maintaining the native plant garden at LVC. 

The native plant garden at LVC provides students with hands-on learning about the importance of native plants and their impact on the ecosystem.

LVC’s sustainability initiatives have been quite successful. This past August, the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center released a report titled, “America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020: Who’s Leading the Transition to 100 percent Renewable Energy on Campus?”  [Read more here.]

According to PennEnvironment, the center used three categories to rank campuses on this topic: “shifting to renewable electricity, repowering buildings with clean energy, and adopting electric vehicles.” 

According to the center’s findings, LVC ranked in the top tier across the nation for “supplying 100 percent of their campuses electricity with renewable energy.”

LVC also highlighted more of its environmental sustainability achievements over the years on its website, some of which are noted below:

-- The college has reduced its carbon footprint by 50 percent through the use of 100 percent renewable wind energy;

-- Over the past two years, LVC has recycled over 41 tons of materials such as glass and paper;

-- Through the implementation of water bottle filling stations, the college has removed waste from 120,000 plastic water bottles so far;

-- Each week, the college eliminates nearly 1 ton of waste from their stream through baling and reselling cardboard;

-- LVC composts grass and leaves; utilizes cleaning products on campus that are 100 percent biodegradable; and

-- The college is a member of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club.

It is apparent that LVC is dedicated to carrying out its mission of environmental sustainability and stewardship. 

Colleges like LVC serve as a wonderful role model for what can be achieved when we all work together to protect the environment and all of its natural resources. We look forward to learning more about the college’s continued success in the future.

For more information about LVC’s environmental sustainability initiatives, please visit the Sustainability At LVC webpage.

Other Articles

The December newsletter also contains articles on--

-- Putting Compost Back In Landfills?

-- Affordable Housing Vulnerable To Flooding

-- Microplastics In Mussels

-- DEP Air Pollution Monitoring Systems In Decline

-- Environmental Impacts Of Ice Melt Products

-- Conservation History: PA’s Rachel Carson And Dangers Of DDT

For more information, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, call 717-787-7570, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on TwitterClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Committee.

Conservation Leadership:

-- Gov. Gifford Pinchot On Leadership: Collaboration And Honesty Are The Foundation Of Effective Leadership In Public Office

-- Mira Lloyd Dock On Leadership: The Old Selfish Minds Must Go. Obstructive Reactionaries Must Move On. The Young Are At The Gates

-- Ralph W. Abele On Leadership: Do Your Duty And Fear No One!

-- Rachel Carson On Leadership: The Human Race is Challenged More Than Ever Before To Demonstrate Our Mastery, Not Over Nature, But Of Ourselves

-- Gov. Dick Thornburgh On Leadership: People Living In The Chesapeake Bay States Should Not Have To Wait Another 30-Plus Years For Clean Water

-- Gov. Robert P. Casey On Leadership: Our Problems Have Taught Us That We Cannot Continue The Mindless Practices Of The Past

-- Gov. Tom Ridge On Leadership: I Call For Pennsylvania To Be A Showcase Of Well-Reasoned And Inspired Environmental Leadership 

-- Op-Ed: New Year's Resolutions For Pennsylvania Legislators - Fair Districts PA, PA League Of Women Voters

-- 233 Stories: These Conservation Leaders Gave Us Cleaner Water, Land & Air In 2020! They Deserve Our Thanks, Our Support! 

[Posted: December 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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