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:

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

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Leed Gold Certification 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.

Gold level LEED-certified renovations to Elmwood and Maplewood residence halls followed in 2012, leading us to dub that area of campus the “Gold Quad.”

Majors like environmental sustainability and peacebuilding and development incorporate sustainable conservation practices 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. 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.