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Trend Five:  Recognize that our planet’s ability to provide us with adequate food, water, clean air and energy depends on our stewardship.    

 “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

SRU Goal - To increase the opportunities for students to learn about sustainability and get involved in sustainability efforts on campus and in the surrounding communities.

Increase the number of sustainability components within goal courses in the Liberal Studies Program

Review of components added to goal courses 

Annual ASSHE STARS Report – Curriculum score 9.24/55.00 (preliminary)

Data to be provided with STARS final submissions (August 2011)

SRU will continue to fully support the Green Fund student initiative
and encourage participation by students, faculty and staff

Number and monetary support of projects by academic year   

2009 Green Fund supported  9 projects totaling  $73,598

2010 Green Fund supported 11 projects totaling $48,786

2011 Green Fund supported   9 projects totaling $34,622

Administration and Finance

Ongoing Activities

SRU’s administration has demonstrated a long history of supporting efforts to promote sustainable practices. The most recent example was President Robert Smith signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in November of 2009. By signing the agreement, the university has committed to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and to accelerate its research and educational efforts in an effort to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate. Existing administrative programs and committees on campus also demonstrate SRU’s efforts to promote sustainable practices. Foremost among these have been the student-initiated Green Fund Advisory Board, which has awarded $75,000 each year in sustainability grants, and the Green Bike Initiative, which provides free bike checkouts to reduce automobile use. Two additional committees on campus promoting sustainability are the Energy Conservation Committee, and the Environmental Zoning Committee.


While various departments, committees, and individuals on campus have been making progress toward adopting sustainable practices, there is a lack of campus wide coordination and communication that would make these efforts more successful. Much of the sustainability work currently being accomplished is not the direct responsibility of any one individual or group, and so does not get the priority that these issues demand. What is needed is a commitment to fund and staff an Office of Sustainability that would drive these efforts and engage the entire campus community. As mentioned above, the savings from reduced energy use, reduced paper and other supplies, and reductions in both landfill and water fees have the potential to more than offset the additional costs of establishing a sustainability office. Responding to the 2005 Cornell survey, the University of British Columbia reported total annual savings of $2.6 million due to its sustainability programs, and that energy savings alone fund that school’s sustainability office. Other schools reported similar savings. Although SRU does not operate at the same scale as UBC, there remains a strong potential for the sustainability office to be self supportive through energy savings and obtaining grants.

SRU Goal
SRU will shift toward a more sustainable model by using a systems approach that coordinates and engages all aspects of campus operations.

SRU will create a new Office of Sustainability in a highly visible location, and create the position of Campus Sustainability Officer – a full-time position reporting to the President, with adequate office support staff,
 including a full-time graduate assistant position by Fall 2012.   

Appointment of position and staffing implementation  



 Ongoing Activities

SRU has been steadily reducing its use of energy and natural resources, despite the addition of new buildings. While the campus square footage has increased from 1.9 million in 2003-04, to 2.26 million in 2008-09, total energy use has decreased primarily through the replacement of older, less efficient buildings at the end of their useful service lives with new, energy efficient buildings, increases in the efficiency of mechanical, electrical, and controls systems, and improved building shells (better insulated roofs and walls, and energy-efficient windows) in an aggressive building renovation program, and the use of ESCO (Energy Service Company) contracts to improve lighting systems in existing buildings. The six new residence halls are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and the University has declared that all future construction and renovation projects must meet LEED standards. The new halls include motion detectors that provide lighting on demand, as well as computer-controlled heating and cooling systems that monitor outside air temperature and optimize systems operations in order to more efficiently provide the heating or cooling as needed within the halls. One of the environmental benefits of these decreases in energy consumption, coupled with the installation of a flexible fuel system provided in the central heating plant, was a reduction of almost 50% in the amount of coal burned in the last five years without a significant increase in energy costs. The installation of a $4 million baghouse and flue gas heat recovery system at the central heating plant, to be completed by 2011, will provide further opportunities to both increase plant efficiency and greatly decrease local emissions.

Water-conserving sink faucets and automatic flush toilets have been installed where feasible and are helping the University conserve water and money. A massive office and classroom lighting retrofit was completed in 2002 and is showing considerable electrical energy saving for the campus. The University has an active recycling program and annually recycles more than 273,000 tons of material that would have been sent to landfills. In addition, 16 tons of pre-consumer food scraps are taken from campus dining halls and combined with leaves collected on campus and from the community to make compost that is then used for campus beautification projects. SRU also recycles its electronics (computers and televisions) through the state prison system, which dismantles the units and makes parts and other components available for reuse, and has implemented a green cleaning program.


With more than 600 acres, and more than 8,600 students supported by more than 1,000 faculty and staff, the SRU campus is the size of a small city and has a similar environmental impact. As with cities, universities across the country have the responsibility to find ways to help reduce their impact on the environment. To that end, we must continue to explore and implement opportunities to reduce greenhouse gasses, reduce and recycle waste and improve efficiencies that lead to a reduction in the University's overall environmental impact.

SRU Goal
Slippery Rock University will strive to become a living laboratory where sustainability is knit into the fabric of the institution. The operation of the entire campus becomes a classroom in this model.

Conduct a sustainability assessment to document SRU’s efforts, and pursue STARS (an evaluation created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) certification

STARS evaluation  

STARS evaluation began in Spring 2010


STARS draft report completed February 2011, final report due August 2011

Reduce campus waste and increase campus recycling to ultimately become a zero-waste community

Recycling and waste volume  

In-house recycling efforts have resulted in savings of $6200 annually (2006-2007)

In-house recycling efforts have resulted in savings of $6600 annually (2007-2008)

Campus recycling efforts resulted in 690.85 tons of campus waste, a 9.67% decrease in landfill waste from ’07-’08; and a 15.8% decrease in landfill waste from base year, ’02-’03.  (2008-2009)

Campus recycling efforts resulted in savings of $9,618.75 and resulted in 710.76 tons of campus waste, a 2.88% increase in landfill waste from ’08-’09; and a 13.39% decrease in landfill waste from base year, ’02-’03.  (2009-2010)

Campus recycling efforts resulted in 523.61 tons of campus waste (through 6/3/11), a 26.33% decrease in landfill waste from ’09-’10; and a 35.34% decrease in landfill waste from base year, ’02-’03.  (2010-2011)

Consolidate use of classrooms to fewer buildings at night and in the summer.

Classroom use  

Consolidation began during the summer 2010

Meter and display utility usage in campus buildings and connect all buildings to an automated energy monitoring system so that educated choices can be made about building utilizations

Begin implementation

Electric meters to be installed at Physical Therapy Building and Swope Music Hall in 2011; Visual display of energy usage planned for Student Center. 

SRU Goal: 
Increase energy savings through innovative programs

Develop ESCO process to decrease Btu/sq. ft. consumption of energy on campus by 1.5%/year. (FA)

Annual Btu/sq.ft. energy consumption.

Slippery Rock University consumed 185,714 Btu/sq.ft. in FY 2003-2004. The University is currently pursuing an ESCO contractor to accomplish its goal of reducing energy consumption.

The ESCO project started construction in May 2009.  Ten of the eleven energy conservation measures will be completed by October 2009.  The controls upgrade measure will continue through the fall of 2010.  The ESCO project is guaranteed to provide $3,657,085 over the 15 year service life of the project and save 549,482 KWH per year. For FY ’07-’08, BTU/sq. ft. consumption decreased 33.13% versus the base year FY ’04-’05 and decreased 8.70% versus FY ’03-’04. 2009 (provided 2007-2008 data)

The ESCO project will be completed in August 2010.  The ESCO project is guaranteed to provide $3,657,085 over the 15-year service life of the project and save 549,482 KWH per year.  For FY ’08-’09, BTU/sq. ft. consumption decreased by 32.97% versus the base year FY ’03-’04, by 34.28% versus FY ’04-’05 by 11.51% from the previous year, FY’07-’08. 2010 (provided 2008-2009 data)

FY ’09-’10, BTU/sq. ft. consumption decreased by 37.48% versus the base year FY’03-’04; by 38.71% versus FY ’04-’05; by 6.74% from the previous year, FY’08-’09. 2011 (provided 2009-2010 data)

Pursue LEED Certification for new and renovated facilities.

New or renovated facilities require LEED Certification

Slippery Rock University will plan, design, renovate, and construct campus facilities with a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.  2007: a part-time sustainability officer
 was appointed and policies were approved to require LEED certification for new building construction and adherence to LEED guidelines for building renovations on campus.  In addition, Slippery
Rock University Foundation, Inc. applied for LEED certification of the Phase I Housing project.  (2007-2008)

In 2009, The Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc. received LEED certification of its on campus Phase I Housing project that consists of  four buildings with 476,354 total gross square feet.  In addition, the  Foundation has applied for certification of Phase II, consisting of two buildings of 270,234 gross square feet.  In the 2008 report of Green Building Alliance, Slippery Rock University’s Phase II Student Housing project was acknowledged as a “project to watch.”  The LEED 
submission identifies sufficient criteria to qualify the project for LEED Silver certification.  The University has recently renovated the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research building to incorporate the latest in sustainable systems design.  The University will accumulate operational data for LEED certification.

Phase II Housing Project was awarded LEED Silver certification.  In June of 2011 representatives of Slippery Rock University responded to questions from the Green Building Council regarding their LEED-OM submission of the renovation of the Robert A. Macoskey Center.   The LEED submission identifies sufficient criteria to qualify the project for LEED Gold certification.  In May of 2011 the Department of General Services contracted with the design firm of R3A to design the Renovation and Addition to Miller Auditorium to LEED standards and to pursue LEED certification. (2010-2011)

The housing project was recognized at silver level.  It was also listed by the Pittsburgh Business Times as the second largest LEED certified project in Western Pennsylvania, and the Regional Learning Alliance was listed as the 19th largest LEED project. 

The University completed the renovation of the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research building in August 2009.  The University is accumulating one year of operational data to apply for LEED OM (operation and maintenance) certification. (2009-2010)

SRU Goal -  Slippery Rock University will create a campus setting through the judicious use of space and facilities that enhances the sense of community, promotes engagement, provides for safety, demonstrates respect for the environment, and promotes learning opportunities.

  • Invest in existing instructional and laboratory facilities that provide effective and flexible learning opportunities. 
  • Sustain a campus characterized by natural and architectural elegance with facilities and infrastructures that deliver needed services to the University community and demonstrate a pride of craftsmanship and recognition of principles of sustainable development.
  • Implement a model strategic plan for sustainability of its natural and energy resources.
    • Implement policies and procedures that support the Sustainability Strategic Plan
    • Develop faculty-assistance programs to assure that curriculum-embedded principles of sustainability are part of the appropriate department programs.



Steering Committee

President Cheryl J. Norton
Dr. Philip Way
Ms. Barbara Ender
Dr. Constance Foley
Ms. Rita Abent
Ms. Tina Moser
Mr. Eliott Baker
Dr. Nancy Barta-Smith
Ms. Carrie Birckbichler
Dr. John Bonando
Dr. Patti Campbell
Mr. Herb Carlson
Dr. Jerry Chmielewski
Dr. Sean Colbert-Lewis
Dr. Patrick Burkhart (APSCUF)
Dr. Cornelius Cosgrove
Ms. Cynthia Dillon
Dr. Thomas Flynn
Ms. Audrey Foreback
Mr. Thomas Watson (AFSCME)
Dr. Susan Hannam
Dr. Athula Herat
Ms. Kelly Sladden(ARHS)
Ms. Mary Ann King
Mr. Paul Lueken
Mrs. Bonnie Lukasik
Dr. Jeffrey Lynn
Mr. Brandon Maharaj
Ms. Holly McCoy
Ms. Lynne Motyl
Dr. Randall Nichols
Dr. Paula Olivero
Ms. Deb Pincek
Dr. Katrina Quinn
Mr. Rogers Clements (SGA)
Mr. Regis Schiebel
Dr. Langdon Smith
Dr. Steven Strain
Ms. Lorraine Stubbs
Ms. Melissa Teodoro
Mr. Philip Tramdack
Dr. Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddesio
Dr. Amanda Yale