Incorporate sustainable practices by “greening” the curriculum, improving physical plant sustainability practices, and promoting an environmentally conscious campus.
Formation of the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability
The President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability was formed in July 2007 to oversee the process of PSU’s compliance with the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The commission completed a draft of our first Climate Action Plan, which has been presented to the campus for discussion in the next few weeks. The CAP calls for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 and 100 percent reduction by 2050. The report lays out plans for achieving the goals of 2025, and with good planning and new technologies we are confident that the institution can reach these goals. The CAP report also provides a commitment to educate students about a sustainable lifestyle, to study and care for the environment, and to promote sustainability to the campus community and the world beyond.
Established the Office of Environmental Sustainability
In July 2008, PSU established the Office of Environmental Sustainability to help the campus implement a strategic plan to meet the goals of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The office is located in EcoHouse and has worked closely with students on projects such as “Do it in the Dark,” which reduced electricity consumption in the residence halls by 54,000 kWh, and Recyclemania, a national competition focused on reducing solid waste and increasing recycling.
Implemented Residential-Based Sustainability Program
EcoHouse was an idea developed by the Center for the Environment’s Steve Whitman and Brian Eisenhauer and funded in part through a University System of New Hampshire ICE (Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship) grant to help develop new and creative ideas for the campus. EcoHouse is designed to demonstrate environmentally sustainable technology in a residential setting, to provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities to Plymouth State University students and the surrounding region, to collect and disseminate information about sustainability, and to help others live in more sustainable ways.
Expanded Role for the Center for the Environment
The Center for the Environment is a collaborative effort among Plymouth State University academic departments, government agencies, and regional nonprofit organizations. Established in 2004, the CFE’s goal is to address the science, policies, culture, and economics of the natural environment in northern New England through research, education, and collaboration.
The CFE has a special commitment to the North Country and Lakes Region of New Hampshire and PSU is geographically well-situated to serve in this role. The CFE focuses on applied environmental problems and engages local communities and organizations in environmental demonstration projects that integrate the natural and human environments. The work of the center enhances the North Country economy, and fosters regional environmental understanding and literacy.
LEED Gold-Certified Residence Hall Wins Four National Awards
Langdon Woods Residential Complex opened in the fall of 2006 and was the first residence hall built on the PSU campus since the mid-80s. The outcome was a LEED Gold-certified, 114,000-square-foot building that houses 347 students. It was among the first LEED Gold-certified residence halls in the country and provided Plymouth State with the confidence and enthusiasm needed to move forward with additional environmental and sustainability efforts.
Environmentally Friendly Welcome Center and Ice Arena
In spring 2009, PSU broke ground on a new welcome center and ice arena, the first phase of a multi-phase plan for the Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell) Center, which will integrate academics, athletics, and recreation on one site to better achieve the educational goals of Plymouth State University. The facility was designed to meet the requirements of a LEED Silver-certified building, and will feature geothermal heating/cooling design to maximize energy conservation.
Center for Rural Partnerships
The Center for Rural Partnerships works with diverse local populations and community leaders, including elected officials, community groups, schools, developers, and others to preserve and enhance New Hampshire’s rural quality of life. The CfRP is building coalitions of people throughout the Northeast, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York, to consider public concerns from a variety of perspectives. The needs of communities generate the CfRP’s goals, and drive its research and service agenda.
Other Sustainable and Environmental Achievements on Campus
Sustainability fellows are students living in residence halls who are responsible for promoting awareness and the values of sustainable living on campus.
In spring 2008, Prospect Dining Hall went trayless. As a result of this simple change, PSU saved nearly $160,000 and reduced its food waste by 35 tons per year.
This year, PSU began comingling recyclables and for the first time recycles plastics 1-7.
PSU’s Physical Plant department has been working on projects across campus to conserve energy and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.