Green Seminary Initiative

Eastern Mennonite Seminary is involved in the overall mission of Eastern Mennonite University to be a “green” institution. Below are a few ways that the seminary specifically contributes to that effort. Dorothy Jean Weaver has been asked to represent EMS in the “Green Seminary Initiative,” a group of seminaries working to make promote environmental awareness within their curriculum and their facilities. She has gathered the following list for that group.

1. The most prominent seminary involvement in the university-wide “green” initiatives (other than the regulation of heating and cooling in the seminary building) is reflected in the recycling effort in the seminary building. Paper recycling bins are located in proximity to copiers and next to the seminary mailboxes. An aluminum and plastic recycling bin is located in the seminary canteen. And local word around campus suggests that the seminary is one of the most productive recycling locations on campus.

2. A second initiative undertaken within the seminary community has to do with reduction of paper and/or Styrofoam usage in eating and drinking utensils. The seminary community has purchased a large set of (washable and reusable) plastic plates and bowls for use at seminary potlucks. In addition the seminary (in imitation of a model seen at Union/PSCE in Richmond, VA) has installed a mug rack in the canteen, where seminary students hang their coffee mugs, thus obviating the need for paper or Styrofoam cups. There is likewise a cupboard shelf filled with coffee mugs for use by visitors to the seminary.

3. A third initiative in the seminary community is a plastic “composting” bucket in the seminary kitchen for used coffee grounds from the hundreds and hundreds of pots of coffee brewed in the seminary.

4. The seminary has dedicated a “free table” for items that one member of the community is finished with but that other members might enjoy. Most often the free table holds two types of items. One is literature, magazines, books, or fliers that one member of the community is finished with, but that other members might like to read. The second is food. Either food that is leftover from seminary community functions, or food that someone has cleaned out of their own cupboards and decided they don’t want, or aren’t going to use. The free table is another way that the seminary recycles and reuses items that might otherwise be thrown away.

5. A “green friendly” initiative related to the seminary building itself has to do with outdoor geraniums plants which are potted each fall and brought into the seminary building for the duration of the winter. There are also numerous other green plants that reside within the seminary building.

6. EMS does not currently have any dedicated “green” courses in its curriculum. Several courses (Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics) identify essays on the environment as one of the course requirements. And students frequently choose environmental topics to work with in the Christian Ethics class. NOTE: EMS is presently at the beginning stages of a curriculum revision. And the question of environmental concerns may potentially rise to the level of curricular changes or additions.

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