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EMU alum’s research on land development wins award

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Click here to read an incredible story of success!

Week of Farming at EMU

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Eastern Mennonite University’s annual Food and Farming week, which started on Oct. 3, was a look into the world of sustainability.  The week hosted opportunities for students to engage area farmers, eat locally grown foods and learn about preserving fresh foods.

Food and Farming week was sponsored by the Earthkeepers student club; their mission is to “encourage, simplify, and implement environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, composting, reducing waste, and monitoring water quality in the Harrisonburg area.”

Activities during the week included:

-Baking bread with Tara Kishbaugh, associate professor of chemistry

-A coffeehouse chat at the local Common Grounds coffeehouse with professors.  Participants learned about cross-cultural experiences and different perspectives regarding food, nature and environment.

-A local farm tour of a CSA

-A local meal with local fare from area farms and gardens.

-Canning with Sustainable Food Initiative.

For more information, click here.

Photo from EMU.

Lancaster Mennonite Schools welcome back students

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

This article from Lancaster Online, focuses on the 1,500 Mennonite students in Lancaster, PA who had their first day of school on Tuesday, August 23. Along with the excitement of a new school year and the various new programs, many students noticed the solar collectors on the Kraybill campus.  The Kraybill solar collectors will provide most of the school’s energy.

Click here to see the entire story.

To view a previous article about the solar panels at the Kraybill campus, click here.

From EMU: University students enjoy fruits of labor

Monday, August 1st, 2011

By Mike Zucconi (EMU), July 19, 2011.  Photo from EMU.

HARRISONBURG, VA. – Future Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) students will not have to go far to enjoy an apple, pear or fig on their way to class.

Will Hairston, EMU grounds supervisor, and his team, have worked throughout the summer to cultivate and maintain edible gardens on campus.

“A few of the trees are already bearing fruit and we hope to have more plants producing shortly,” said Hairston.

“When these plants reach maturity and are producing, we hope to supply the cafeteria and have student groups harvesting them,” added Hairston.

Edible gardens have been around campus for years, according to Hairston, and will become more prominent thanks to a grant from the student group Earthkeepers. Hairston was able to buy more than 1,000 plants for landscaping around the Elmwood dormitory, turf field and Suter Science Center.

“We have apple and pear trees along the hill behind Roselawn dormitory and persimmon and pau pau trees around the EMU turf field.”

In addition, Hairston also maintains fig and crab apple trees, grape vines and cornelian cherry and black raspberry bushes.

Aly Zimmerman, a junior from Staunton, Va., said the push for edible landscapes around EMU began with the on-campus showing of the film “Food Inc.” The film focuses on the industrialized food system and its effect on environment, health, economy and workers’ rights.

“Almost immediately after see the movie Earthkeepers met and decided we needed to do something,” said Zimmerman.

Earthkeepers began using what they learned in “Food Inc.” to make changes around campus, including expanding the edible gardens. In addition to the fruit trees and plants that already existed they planted asparagus beds around the Elmwood dormitory and the Science Center. Asparagus can be harvested in March and April, so students will have ample opportunity to enjoy the vegetable before the end of the spring semester.

“We want to raise awareness to the availability and health benefits that these plants can provide,” said Zimmerman. ”EMU is an environmentally aware university and we hope to attract more students to science and environmental sustainability through our work.”

Tyler Groff, a senior from Lancaster, Pa., adds that the edible garden landscapes around campus will also benefit from increased use of technology, specifically Google Docs.

“We will be able to schedule watering cycles for all plants to make sure that none are missed,” Groff said.

“We hope to build an interactive display that can showcase where each plant is on campus and how they can be best utilized,” he continued.

Groff, like Zimmerman and Hairston, notes additional benefits to edible gardens.

“Edible gardens can provide enjoyment and add a new experience to campus. Hopefully, this will get people thinking about other ways they can make an impact while they enjoy something grown right here on campus.”

Peace camp focuses on earth care

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

reported in Mennonite Weekly Review:

Earth Care-People Care was the theme at a children’s peace camp, co-sponsored by Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., and local faith communities. Campers learned about sustainable living on visits to Jewish, Christian and Muslim places of worship. They also made ice cream using bicycle power.  Read more here.

Kraybill Mennonite School has solar panels

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

This informative article from Lancaster Online discusses Kraybill Mennonite School’s recent purchase of 385 solar panels.  They are the first school to use solar panels in Lancaster County.  In addition to the economic and environmental reasons for using solar energy, another main reason Kraybill Mennonite installed solar panels was to model their faith through care for creation.  Read more.

Bluffton Breaks Ground for Health and Fitness Education Center

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

From Bluffton University PR, with permission

Bluffton University took a major step toward new, enhanced facilities for both academics and athletics on Tuesday, July 12, breaking ground for its planned Health and Fitness Education Center.

(2-minute video)

“This is the next big development in Bluffton’s ongoing commitment to deliver a total educational program of the highest quality,” said President Dr. James M. Harder. “A Bluffton education includes excellent teaching and learning in the classroom and through a variety of co-curricular programs, including health and fitness for all students and competitive facilities for our NCAA student-athletes. This new building will meet the needs of Bluffton students for many years to come.”

The 60,000-square-foot complex, to be located north of Marbeck Center on campus, will house space for the academic department of health, fitness and sport science; a weight and fitness center for all students; a new arena for intercollegiate basketball and volleyball; a sports medicine center; athletics offices; and practice, intramural and multipurpose facilities.
Expected to open by late 2012, the building will also be the first on campus to be certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system. Among the key elements in that certification are commitments to an environmentally sustainable site, energy efficiency—such as use of natural light in at least 90 percent of the center’s regularly occupied spaces—and to recycling, including 75 percent or more of construction waste.

Funds for the $14 million project have been contributed by Bluffton alumni and friends as part of Extending Our Reach—The Campaign for Bluffton, through which the university has raised more than $30 million in cash and pledges to support academic programs, student scholarships, endowment and the building project.
“Bluffton deeply appreciates the commitment of many alumni and friends who chose to invest in the university’s future during a time of economic uncertainty,” said Dr. Hans Houshower, vice president for advancement. “Bluffton’s donors have truly extended their reach to make this day possible.”

A Health and Fitness Education Center was identified as the top priority for new facilities in the university’s current master plan. Designed by nationally renowned architects Sasaki Associates of Boston, Mass.—also the architects for Bluffton’s Centennial Hall academic building—the center will replace 60-year-old Founders Hall as the home of Beavers basketball and volleyball. Since Founders was built, the university’s enrollment has more than tripled, and with one-third of current traditional students participating in intercollegiate athletics and many more in intramural sports, campus capacity for performance, practice and intramural space has been stretched.

The new arena will seat more than 1,500 and also include two practice courts and a walking/jogging track. The weight and fitness center, meanwhile, will be a 5,000-square-foot space for all students—with separate areas for aerobic fitness and free weights—and the sports medicine center will feature an exam room and offices for physicians and trainers; rehabilitation space, including a hydrotherapy room; and dedicated areas for treatment and taping. Another multipurpose space, with an elevated view of the arena, will be used for classes, meetings and special events.

The general contractor is Thomas & Marker Construction of Bellefontaine, Ohio, whose many building projects at Bluffton have included Centennial Hall and, most recently, summer 2010 improvements to College Hall, Musselman Library and the Burcky Gym locker complex.


Bluffton public relations, 7/12/11

EMU’s Crossroads magazine: a sustainability focus

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Spring 2011, Vol. 91, No. 3

The EMU Crossroads magazine, published three times a year, most recently focused  on sustainability.   Multiple articles profile alumni with unique methods of “going green.”  It is both inspiring and informative, and worth checking out. Visit to view the magazine online.

New Solar Collectors Save Energy at Bethel College

Friday, June 10th, 2011

by Melanie Zuercher

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s latest venture in energy-saving technology will make a small step toward a greener planet – but may have a much more profound impact on at least one student’s future.

Bethel maintenance and technology staff, under the management of Les Goerzen, director of facilities and technology, continue to use their own expertise, willingness to research and ability to improvise to find small, affordable ways to cut energy usage.

The latest, launched at the beginning of this month, was installation of solar collectors on the roof of Voth residence hall. (more…)

EMU a Winner in Climate Action Competition

Friday, April 15th, 2011

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Eastern Mennonite University has been honored as a winner of the National Wildlife Federation’s annual competition “Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus.” This award program recognizes U.S. schools that are designing and implementing creative approaches that advance sustainability on campuses. EMU is one of six winning schools that were chosen from a national pool of entries.

EMU’s winning entry gives an overview of sustainability efforts at EMU and
highlights the installation of a solar array on Hartzler Library roof in
fall 2010. The two-minute video was produced by EMU’s marketing and
communications media specialists Lindsey Kolb and Jon Styer, both
graduates of EMU’s Visual and Communication Arts program. It can be viewed


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