Muhlenberg Named Top Performer in 2019 Sustainable Campus Index

The College ranks fourth for water conservation best practices among all higher education institutions nationally.

By: Kristine Yahna Todaro  Tuesday, August 27, 2019 09:49 AM

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Muhlenberg College has been recognized as a top performer in the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, receiving a score of 100 percent for best practices in the area of water conservation. The College tied for the fourth spot among all higher education institutions nationally for water conservation and reuse, as well as effective rainwater management practices.

A publication from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities overall and in 17 impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Last winter Muhlenberg received a STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements, the highest level of recognition received by any Lehigh Valley higher education institution, for five overall areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation and leadership.

In the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, the College’s was recognized for a 52 percent reduction in water usage over five years. Campus landscape initiatives included eliminating water hoses and favoring native plants and hearty grasses. The plant operations department also decentralized the boiler plant. The campus’s multiple new boilers use less water and are more efficient, leaky pipes are no longer in use and an organic water softener additive enables water to be reused in the boiler system, mitigating issues with Allentown's hard water. 

Students have been part of the Muhlenberg’s water conservation efforts as well. “Our students have been involved in water reductions through peer-to-peer advocacy,” says Kalyna Procyk, sustainability coordinator and an adjunct professor of sustainability studies. “They’ve led residence hall programs to encourage shorter showers, turning off the water when brushing teeth and reporting leaks.” 

“We are happy to recognize Muhlenberg College for its leadership in advancing sustainability,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “I’m grateful for the work being done by this institution to help move society toward a more equitable and sustainable future.”

About Muhlenberg College

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, the College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. The College is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

About STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website. For more information, visit stars.aashe.org. 

About AASHE

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world's future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit www.aashe.org