Office of Campus Sustainability
In the early spring of 2010, the Garden Committee, composed of faculty, staff and students received approval to develop the plots behind 2208 & 2214 Chew Street into a community garden.
The idea for a garden developed out of a Sociology of Food (SOC 273) class which assessed the feasibility and ideal configuration of a Muhlenberg Community Garden. They presented their garden proposal to campus and Allentown community members to overwhelming interest and enthusiastic support.
The garden will provide a hands-on learning experience for the Muhlenberg community and its neighbors. Additionally, the garden will provide a unique opportunity for multi-disciplinary and community collaboration. Two houses in front of the plots will support the garden in a living learning experiential environment. The residents of the Garden House and the Sustainability House [LINK] will focus on managing the plants and sustainable infrastructure of the garden. Planting and composting have already begun. The garden will have the ability to compost pre-consumer waste.
The Muhlenberg Environmental Action Team (EnAcT) is a student organization that educates the campus on sustainability and environmental issues and develops projects and programs to better the ecological impact of individuals.
EnAcT's mission is to spread environmental awareness and cultivate ecological literacy while actively taking part in the ecological betterment of the campus, local, and global communities. EnAcT offers an outlet for all students to pursue activities and intellectual explorations that fall under this general scheme.
Recent projects include attaining a 95% decrease in bottled water sales on campus via the Just Tap It campaign, organizing a dorm energy consumption competition, Watts Your Bergtricity, educating on the introduction of new recycling bins on campus, developing the Sustainability Theme House. Additionally, EnAcT has created vibrant Earth Day celebrations, recruited for the Green Team, the move-in student sustainability assistants, and promoted outdoor activities.
EnAcT won the President's Award at Honors Convocation in Spring 2010. The award goes to the student organization that's contributed most positively to the campus over the last year. Sara Imperiale, EnAcT’s president, won Student Leader of the Year.
At the beginning of each school year, Muhlenberg Green Team members reach out to all students during move-in to collect cardboard and recycling, and educate the campus regarding recycling on campus.
Watts Your Bergtricity?
The Watts Your Bergtricity? Dorm Energy Competition is an energy reduction competition between the fifteen major campus dormitories. Dorms will compete over the 2-week period to gain points and the top scoring dorm will win prizes. The first Watts Your Bergtricity took place in 2009 where most of our campus dorms substantially decreased their energy use over two weeks. The goal of the competition was to reduce energy use, to sparks dialogue among the campus community and to integrate sustainable behaviors into daily life.
Just Tap It is an initiative to greatly reduce the amount of bottled water consumed on campus. As a result of EnAcT’s efforts, water bottle purchases on campus dropped by 95%. EnAcT’s efforts resulted in a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority of Student Government. The resolution excludes bottled water from the student meal plan but allows a person to purchase the water using cash, credit, or dining or flex dollars. Furthermore, new filtered water stations have been installed all over campus. In support of this initiative, President Helm, in conjunction with other departments funded the purchase of reusable aluminum water bottles for the freshman class.
EnAcT’s efforts resulted in a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority of Student Government.
The resolution excludes bottled water from the student meal plan but allows a person to purchase the water using cash, credit, or dining or flex dollars.
As a result of EnAcT’s efforts, water bottle purchases on campus dropped by 95%. Furthermore, new filtered water stations have been installed all over campus. In support of this initiative, President Helm, in conjunction with other departments funded the purchase of reusable aluminum water bottles for the freshman class.
The Sustainability House at Muhlenberg is made up of a community of students committed to a living an environmentally conscious, socially just, and sustainable lifestyle. Residents of the Sustainability House will focus on energy, food and waste as the three initial topics to address in their living-learning community.
Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement
The Office for Community Service & Civic Engagement cultivates partnerships with organizations in the Lehigh Valley and supports environmental and social sustainability through volunteerism, service-learning, and civic engagement. The Office provides opportunities to participate in community-based projects/programs, community work-study, and course-based community engagement.
Renewable Energy on Campus
Muhlenberg has installed a 3.2 kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of Seegers Union.
During a course coordinated by Dr. Jane Flood, 12 students installed the system, including 2 pole-mounted nine-panel arrays, 2 inverters, new conduit, and a data collection system.
All of this was completed with the assistance of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA), EcoElectric and a grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF). The arrays are manually adjustable and solar radiance, wind, temperature, and electricity production data will be available for ongoing research and analysis.