Sustainability and Creation Care at EMU

EMU was caring for the world we share long before “green” became trendy. EMU students 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
  • 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
  • Our nationally recognized recycling program collects campus recycling and compostable food scraps entirely via bicycle

Sustainable Lessons In and Out of the Classroom

“One of the things that makes EMU different is that sustainability is not just a grassroots effort.”

– Jim Yoder, biology professor

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Leed Gold CertificationWe’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. Gold level LEED-certified renovations to Elmwood and Maplewood residence halls followed soon after.

Majors like environmental sustainability and peacebuilding and development incorporate sustainable conservation practices and creation care into real-life studies of our world and global community.

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.

Our efforts go from garden to table, too. Five campus gardens – tended by students, faculty and staff – and edible landscaping 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.

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