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October 18, 2011 12:23 am

College’s Sustainability Initiatives Still Going Strong

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St. Mary’s touts itself as a green school, and yet some alumni were still wondering why the College has not shown up in any prestigious green school rankings, such as The Princeton Review, Sierra Club’s Cool Schools, or the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

Luke Mowbray, the Sustainability Coordinator, says, “There are a number of green reporting agencies, but traditionally we haven’t submitted scores for too many of them.” However, the College has submitted scores to the Princeton Review and the Maryland Green Registry, and it will be expanding its score submissions to AASHE STARS, the most comprehensive green reporting system, within the next year.

In years past, St. Mary’s has garnered enough impressive accolades to prove that the College is indeed working towards its goal of environmental sustainability. It was rated in the 80 percentile of universities in the country in The Princeton Review’s Top Green Schools, and is the only college in Maryland to receive the Maryland Green Leadership Award.

St. Mary’s has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the largest green power purchaser in the Capital Athletic Conference for the past four years, and is the first school in Maryland to be named a sanctuary by the Audubon Society.

In 2008, the College completed an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) worth $2.5 million in energy and water efficiency upgrades, leading to a 16.5 %  reduction in electricity through engineered savings, and a 34% water and sewage reduction.

Additionally, all new construction at the College must be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified or equivalent, demonstrating the College’s commitment to make its buildings environmentally responsible.

Mowbray was “surprsised that [St. Mary’s] hadn’t submitted for AASHE STARS,” but extolled the College’s administration for being “very supportive” of these goals. “We do a lot of really good work here, and it would be nice to let the world know.”

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