Mission, Goals, and Principles

Statement of Principles on Sustainability
Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary

A community of wise stewards, who care for and enhance our treasures
of heritage, people, and place for generations to come.

from the Moravian College
Mission Statement and Vision for the Future

Mission and Guiding Principles on Sustainability

As members of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary we will strive to be good stewards of our campus and good neighbors with those in our community. We will foster conservation, protection, and enhancement of resources through College policy and personal behavior. We will preserve and enhance the quality of life for our campus and community for future generations in ways that incorporate good teaching and learning, administrative practices, and civic engagement.

We will apply thoughtful and creative planning to achieve a thriving campus community built on these principles of sustainability:

  1. Minimize our use of energy by incorporating the most efficient technologies possible and by improving energy efficiencies through behavioral change.
  2. Reduce the use of manufactured resources as much as possible and increase our efforts at recycling those materials that can be reused or renewed.
  3. Incorporate total life cycle and total life-cycle cost of products from their manufacture to their disposal into decision-making.
  4. Employ wise land-use practices and enhanced “green spaces” as we strive to create a pedestrian friendly campus that enhances our place within the community.
  5. Educate and inform the members of our own campus community and the community at large on issues of sustainability through our curriculum, research, and continuing education programs.

Status of Sustainability at Moravian College

To obtain a “snapshot” of Moravian’s current sustainability status without undertaking a comprehensive school-wide inventory, we can refer to three recent assessments:

  1. The Princeton Review Green Rating “provides a comprehensive measure of a  school’s performance as an environmentally aware and prepared institution” based on information given by the participating schools. The rating—which appears in the 2009 editions of The Princeton Review's Annual College Guides and web site profiles of 534 schools—includes “1) whether students have a campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable, 2) how well a school is preparing students for employment in the clean energy economy, and 3) how environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.”

    Moravian presently rates 78 on a scale of 60-99. As a point of reference, eleven schools earned 99, the best possible score. Details about the rating and methodology are available at http://www.princetonreview.com/green/press-release.aspx
  2. “Greenhouse Gas” Inventory: An inventory of carbon emissions at Moravian is an essential tool for assessing our future progress. This inventory has been compiled in previous years and is current through 2006. We need a person or class to take responsibility for the annual update.

Sustainability Action Plan: What We Must Do Now

A commitment to sustainability is a long-term endeavor that requires broad consensus and action. Careful planning and organization are necessary to carry out statements of policy and provide a solid basis for implementation. This commitment and the resulting plans must then be incorporated into all college departments and functions until they become a routine part of our everyday lives. Increasing understanding of the long-term consequences of personal and institutional actions must be an important aspect of our plan.

To these ends we propose that the following specific elements and recommendations form the core of an action plan for campus sustainability for the next five years:

Functional and Responsive Facilities:  Environmental measures and conservation are important elements as Moravian College develops its Campus Land Use and Facilities Master Plan.  Renovations to existing facilities and new buildings should work within LEED or LEED-equivalent guidelines. Small and large-scale “green” projects need to be undertaken on an annual basis that will lessen the college’s impact on the environment and save the college money.

A Sustainable Campus and Grounds: The management of campus grounds is an opportunity for sustainable development as it can enhance the integrity of the local ecosystem through proper land use practices. We should preserve green spaces and existing native foliage and reduce lawns where possible.  When landscaping, we should plant species that are indigenous to the area. We need to minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and ensure that buildings, parking areas, and walkways are responsibly constructed to protect watersheds.

Life-Cycle Purchasing Guidelines: Moravian’s Business Office will work to provide goods and services that support sustainability.  It will consider total cost of a product, product life cycles, quantity, and efficient purchasing practices. In addition, it will promote contracting with suppliers that offer options of environmentally friendly, recyclable, and recycled products.

Green Dining Services: Moravian College Dining Services has played a critical role in advancing the College’s commitment to sustainability. It has been at the forefront of innovative programs and services such as “no tray day” in the dining room, purchasing recyclable products, and offering recyclable containers. To that end, Dining Services will continue to study and implement ways to decrease waste such as eliminating trays completely from the dining room, evaluating the viability of composting, and purchasing more local and organic products.

Sustainable Transportation: The disconnected nature of the Moravian College campuses presents a number of challenges for sustainability. The College will work toward enhancing a pedestrian friendly campus by encouraging walking and the use of bicycles, exploring the use of alternative fueled vehicles, evaluating the possibility of increased use of shared or public transportation, and reducing the need for parking on campus.

Waste Reduction and Recycling: Moravian College is committed to minimizing the amount of hazardous and solid waste produced on campus by implementing efficient and effective programs and practices that support waste reduction, reuse, recycling and redesign. The College will maintain and assess a hazardous waste management and disposal tracking system and promote the purchase of non-hazardous materials whenever possible.

Sustainability and Our Curriculum: Moravian College’s Academic Plan asserts that, “The ever-increasing pressure on the environment demands that we prepare our students not only to live in such a world, but also to change it for the better.” There is a critical need to have concepts of sustainability introduced into the curriculum. Existing offerings need to be reviewed with the aim to strengthen the Environmental Studies degree program and introduce courses related to sustainability for all students into the curriculum.

Sustainability and Student Activities: The Office of Student Affairs is responsible for offering a wide range of social, cultural, and educational programs that enhance student life outside of the classroom. In cooperation with other groups it will initiate and provide programs and services including lectures, films, and participation in special projects that provide focused learning opportunities to enhance students’ awareness of the importance of sustainability and their role in the community.

Communicating the Culture of Sustainability to Future Students: By communicating a culture of sustainability that highlights our efforts to prospective and incoming students we can create an engaged student body. Attention to sustainability should become part of the admissions process with scholarships and financial aid awarded to incoming students based on demonstrated interest and previous commitment.

Community Engagement and Outreach: As good citizens it is incumbent upon us to freely and widely share the lessons we have learned with all the members of our campus community, with our Moravian family around the world, with our neighbors in the City of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, with our peers and colleagues within higher education, and to anyone else “out there” willing to listen and learn with us.

Lines of Authority and Accountability

The governance of Moravian College and Theological Seminary is vested in a Joint Board of Trustees that serves as the ultimate body responsible for creating and overseeing policies and operations.  We recommend that the Board adopt the goals and recommendations set forth in this document and that through the President and his Senior Staff take responsibility for seeing that they are met in a timely manner.

The role of the Sustainability Committee will be to serve as a campus-wide advisory group to the President, raise campus awareness and facilitate campus-wide input on issues related to sustainability, and provide leadership in helping to build a consensus within the community for creating a smaller environmental footprint and educating the community about how to achieve that goal.