SALISBURY, MD---Since Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, the campus has expanded steadily in size and enrollment while keeping its carbon footprint firmly in check.
For this initiative and others, the Maryland Department of the Environment recently presented SU with its prestigious Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award. The accolade honors an organization-wide commitment to environmental performance, sustainable goals and measurable results within Maryland businesses and institutions. Past winners have included the University of Maryland, College Park; the National Aquarium; and NASA.
“From instituting environmentally friendly construction practices to supporting environmental studies in the classroom, Salisbury University takes its commitment to sustainability seriously,” said Dudley-Eshbach. “Our school colors may be maroon and gold, but there is room for a lot of green, as well!”
In 2010, SU released a plan to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The plan includes SU’s 2006 partnership with Pepco Energy Services, Inc. for campus-wide energy conservation. More than $5.3 million in savings is expected by 2021, and the partnership was lauded by the Maryland Board of Public Works.
Transportation efficiency has moved to the forefront. Hybrid vehicles have replaced many models in SU’s motor pool fleet. A shared ride program promotes carpooling and the campus installed what are believed to be the Eastern Shore’s first public electric vehicle charging stations. More campus bike racks were added, and SU partnered with the city of Salisbury and the cycling advocacy group Bike SBY to create a bike lane on one of the most popular routes to the University.
In the classroom, SU officially established a new Environmental Studies Department. Since 2010, Salisbury students have won five coveted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greater Research Opportunity fellowships. For several years, those with environmental interests have been able to reside and study together in SU’s Living Learning Community Green Floor.
The Student Government Association hosts annual celebrations for Earth Week and Campus Sustainability Day, and recently proposed a mandatory student sustainability fee that would assist with “green” efforts. Other student organizations such as the Smart Growth Club and Gulls Going Green promote sustainability to the campus, as well as to the surrounding community, by hosting public events including environmental speakers and film screenings. In addition, students have volunteered their time to help create and maintain organic gardens on and off campus.
SU has made great strides in waste management. In 2012, the campus signed an agreement with Blue Hen Organics that allows 100 percent of food waste (including paper products) from SU’s dining hall to be composted into a soil enhancement product used by area farmers and the University’s Horticulture Department. The partnership helps keep some 300 tons out of local landfills annually and allowed SU to recycle more than 50 percent of its total waste for the first time since its recycling program began in 1990.
Other efforts promoting a green culture include installing water bottle filling stations throughout campus to encourage drinking from reusable water bottles instead of bottled water and converting washers and dryers in SU’s traditional residence halls to high-efficiency models.
Beyond earning local and state honors, SU has been named among the most environmentally responsible universities nationwide by The Princeton Review, which has included Salisbury in its Guide to Green Colleges for four consecutive years.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.