STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/19/2008

Top Six

Sustainability Initiatives
In 2006 President Carlberg joined other evangelical leaders in Washington, D.C., in signing the Evangelical Initiative on Climate Change, which states that Christians are mandated to care for creation. At Gordon environmental preservation takes place on every level--from President Carlberg and the administration to faculty, staff and students. Here are some initiatives currently in place (Jessica Hackett '09 and Benjamin Reinhold '09 contributed information to this article).

1  |  Reducing Trash
Twenty years ago on-campus recycling was sorting paper goods from trash. Now recycling includes paper, plastic, batteries, car tires, used oil, mattresses, glass, light bulbs and cathode ray tubes from broken TVs and monitors. Last year Gordon removed 465 tons of waste and recycled 150 tons. It costs the College substantially less money to remove recycled waste than regular trash. Dining Services has recently cut paper-napkin consumption 15-20 percent and replaced many paper cups with reusable ones. While recycling is more labor intensive, it's worth it for the good it does for the environment.

2  |  Energy Management
In an effort to use less energy and cut down on greenhouse gases, the College has invested in many new energy management systems across campus. Computerized systems have been installed in Bennett, Barrington, Lane, Jenks and Ferrin. Energy-efficient lighting has been installed in most dorms and academic buildings. Ninety-five percent of campus heating systems have been converted to natural gas, and water-saving technology is being installed in bathrooms. Photovoltaic and wind power options are being explored for their feasibility in helping Gordon further reduce use of fossil fuels.

3  |  Running on Biodiesel
Leo Cleary, locksmith and carpenter in the College's Physical Plant, made headlines when he started processing biodiesel fuel from Lane Student Center's used vegetable oil. With the biodiesel he runs his own car and a campus car, "The Clean Machine"--a 1981 diesel Volkswagen Rabbit. Now all College vehicles that run a diesel engine have switched to this innovative and renewable resource--B-20, a by-product that is 20 percent biodiesel.

4  |  Green Chemistry
Chemistry professor Irv Levy's students promote green chemistry at the Boston Museum of Science, the Boston Children's Museum and at national meetings for the American Chemical Society. Organic chemistry students will attend the semester-long Green Organic Literacy Forum this spring. Two green chemistry research projects are underway: "Measuring Ecotoxicity" and "Biofuels from Underutilized Seed Oils." Irv and his students are spearheading a campus-wide project to make soap from biodiesel production waste.

5  |  An Organic Garden, Composting and Other Projects
Advocates for a Sustainable Future, a student group that is part of the Gordon College Student Association, encourages campus-wide environmental awareness. Founder Mat Schetne '08, along with other students, started an organic garden and sells produce at a campus farm stand. He works with Dining Services to offer more local or fair-trade products, and initiated a composting project in campus apartment buildings and at the student Claymore Café to cut down on waste.

6  |  Wetlands Restoration Project
In 2003 plans were made to reclaim a wetland that had been paved over behind Frost Hall. Oil from cars had seeped into the wetlands, polluting an ecological habitat. In conjunction with the Wenham Conservation Commission and state agencies, the College invested in a reclamation project for the area. A drainage system was installed to improve water quality, and various wetland species were planted.


Irv Levy
The Clean Machine