Sustainability is based on a simple principle: everything we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on preserving and protecting our natural environment. Sustainability is also recognized as an issue of social justice and, as such, is vital to Rosemont College’s mission as a socially responsible institution. That’s why Rosemont College is again participating in Recyclemania and has expanded several waste elimination initiatives on campus designed to actively promote the concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling to its staff and students.
Rosemont’s dining services (Parkhurst) and facilities departments currently have several sustainability initiatives in place to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, the support of sustainable agriculture, and the elimination of unnecessary waste.
Parkhurst’s sustainability efforts include recycling all corrugated cardboard, paper, bottles, cans, and oil, and staggering light and kitchen equipment turn on and off to conserve energy. Food products with a carbon footprint of 150 miles or less are utilized when available and fair trade coffee, free range beef and cage free eggs are consumed daily. Parkhurst has made available refillable containers thus reducing the use of Styrofoam and paper cups while also offering discounts for using a reusable mug.
“Growing the sustainability programs on campus is exciting," said Rick Cuba, general manager of dining services. "We implemented the trayless residential dining to improve our carbon footprint by saving on water consumption as well as putting fewer chemicals into the water system on campus and for the local community.”
Another example of how Rosemont College is promoting sustainability campus-wide is by participating in RecycleMania, a national competition for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to campus communities. This spring marks Rosemont’s sixth year of participation in the eight-week challenge, coordinated by the college’s facilities department in partnership with the Office of Residence Life.
Colleges taking part in RecycleMania report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are then ranked by category. With each week’s updated ranking, participating schools compare their performance against other colleges and use the results to rally their campus to increase awareness of the importance to reduce and recycle even more.
Rosemont College has participated in the RecycleMania competition for the past five spring semesters and has recycled over 26,700 lbs. of materials to date. This past year, Rosemont College saw its total weight recycled surpass the previous year’s total by over sixty percent and hopes to maintain this upward momentum in this year's competition.
Participating in environmental programs like RecycleMania helps the college track the impact of its operations and measures progress toward long-range goals of waste prevention, healthy environments and community awareness, and a broader overall commitment to sustainability. “We hope by educating the student body and administration about our sustainability initiatives it will increase efforts to reduce waste, and generate more attention and support for all campus recycling programs,” said Tom Szatkowski, director of facility services.
"As a College, we have the unique capability to leverage our strength in teaching to promote and encourage our students and staff to use products and incorporate practices in their everyday lives that support recycling and other sustainability efforts," said Rosemont President Sharon Latchaw Hirsh, Ph.D. ‘70.