From the ground we walk on to the air we breathe, St. Edward's University community members work tirelessly to maintain the campus environment. Browse some of the ways in which they accomplish this below.
In 2003, the Board of Trustees approved the 2003 Campus Landscape Master Plan to provide the university with guidance for planting more trees to help clean the air and prevent soil erosion, planting more native plants to conserve water, creating a more pedestrian campus to reduce vehicle traffic on campus, and creating a more inviting campus so that students, faculty, and staff can enjoy the outdoors as meeting and recreational spaces.
In May 2011, the Board of Trustees approved the 2011 Campus Master Plan that provides the St. Edward's campus with building sustainability guidelines to ensure that building performance is consistent with campus-wide sustainability goals.
Facilities uses a web-based work order system that allows faculty and staff to efficiently notify Facilities of maintenance issues (leaks, heating problems, and safety issues), enabling the dedicated maintenance staff to address them more quickly, thereby decreasing waste and increasing efficiency. Student needs are addressed through both Student Life and Residence Life offices. Facilities conducts preventive maintenance at varying intervals to inspect plumbing, chilled water and electrical systems. The reporting and tracking features of the system allows Facilities staff to monitor and analyze maintenance issues throughout campus and more quickly find and correct ongoing problems.
The housekeeping staff plays a major role in collecting recycled materials from buildings across campus. They also assist in composting by making sure that the contents of the green plastic bags in the bathrooms are disposed of properly; the paper towels, small bits of food waste, or old flowers from campus events are composted instead of thrown in the regular garbage!
A signature of St. Edward's campus, the beautiful grounds and landscape play a large role in our effort to be environmentally conscientious. Since 1999, Facilities has planted native plants and over 900 trees to conserve water and provide natural shading. In addition, Facilities has installed four water meters that provide water to our irrigation system; water-wise controllers are tied to on-site weather stations, and are using micro-irrigation for all landscape beds and trees. All grass clippings are mulched and returned directly to the ground. Tree branches and fall leaves are chipped on site and composted for later use in the landscaping.
The Greenhouse Gas Inventory tracks the total annual greenhouse gas emissions at St. Edward's University, providing Hilltoppers with a better understanding of the sources and trends in the university's Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) in an effort to improve current sustainability practices at the university.
This inventory originally started in 2009 as an undergraduate research project. With the inception of the Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Management and Sustainability (MSEM) in 2013, graduate students took the initiative to resume collecting the data. The continuation of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory has become a required project for future MSEM students to ensure this data is updated every year.
*The offsets from Wild Basin have been updated to carbon storage per year, whereas previous reports are in the total value of carbon storage with no time stamp. This is a more accurate measure of offsets, but does cause the net emissions to be much higher than previous reports.
2015 MSEM Final Paper: Comparison of Carbon Sequestration Methodologies for Use by Academic Institutions in Texas by Suzzanne Gamboa, Erica Joelson, and Christina Mcglew, MSEM Cohort 3
The Environmental Management System (EMS) is a framework that encourages the university to realize its environmental goals and continuously improve its environmental performance through consistent controls of its operations. The expectation is that this increased control will improve the environmental performance of the university. The EMS operates in a repeating cycle, beginning with a policy statement that is turned into a plan that is implemented, evaluated, and revised. The cycle repeats, and continuous improvement occurs.
To learn more about St. Edward's EMS, click here.
The St. Edward's University Environmental Stewardship Committee's mission is to maintain a sustainable campus; to promote environmental education, research and conservation; and to foster new behaviors, innovative strategies, new technologies and solutions to reduce the individual and institutional environmental impact for the benefit of the present and future university community.
Members of the Environmental Stewardship Committee are represented by the following groups: