Sustainability and Creation Care at EMU
EMU was practicing sustainability long before “green” became trendy. We live in LEED-certified residence halls, draw power from the first commercial solar project in our state, and enjoy edible landscaping. In 2012 we were named the only “Bicycle Friendly University” in our region.
Sustainable and simple living is at the core of many Mennonites’ faith, and it’s a strong part of EMU’s Christian community. Here are some highlights:
- Our energy-efficient buildings are some of the best performing college facilities in the country
- Three dorms in our self-styled “Gold Quad” are LEED-certified at the gold level
- We installed the largest solar installation in the state of Virginia in 2010 and continue to lead the way
- Beehives, meadows, orchards and edible landscaping efforts are community-based
- Sustainability and creation care are woven into the curriculum many levels
- A campus creation care council is comprised of students, faculty and staff
- Our nationally recognized recycling program is run 100% via bicycle
Sustainable lessons in and out of the classroom
“One of the things that makes EMU different is that sustainability at EMU is not just a grassroots effort.”
– Jim Yoder, biology professor
We’ve been pioneers in constructing energy-efficient buildings and installing innovative heating and cooling systems since the 1980s. Our green dorm Cedarwood set college precedent in 2011 when it received LEED “gold” certification, one of the highest environmental standards construction can attain.
Professors develop sustainability-focused courses like green design and compost research and applications, courses with real-life results; students take lessons and apply them to campus issues. This is all part of our university-wide peace with creation curriculum.
Our efforts go from garden to table, too. Five campus gardens – tended by students, faculty and staff – provide fresh produce for the dining hall. Students groups like Earthkeepers and the Sustainable Food Initiative manage the compost initiative across campus and continue to push forward meaningful campus change like trayless dining in the caf, local harvest meals, planting trees, edible landscaping, and more.