Sustainability at Graceland University

A few years ago a group of faculty, led by Michele Dickey-Kotz, began to think about meaningful ways in which the Graceland values of wholeness and community could be extended to encompass the ecological community of which we all are a part. In 2010 the group was formalized into a Sustainability Themed Committee. As a starting point, they made the recommendation to hire a sustainability coordinator and build the First Year Experience program, required by all students, around the theme of sustainability.

As a result of this early leadership to making sustainability a part of Graceland University culture, the sustainability program was created in 2010 with the appointment of a coordinator for the new program. Since this time the sustainability coordinator, Jennifer Abraham-White, works to develop programs, practices and awareness on campus and in the Lamoni community that are in line with the overall goals of the sustainability office.

While still in its early years, the Graceland University sustainability program offers many opportunities for students, faculty and staff to thoughtfully engage and physically interact in an environment where sustainability initiatives are nurtured.

In just a few short years the concept of sustainability has outgrown the program and now includes many initiatives, including but not limited to:

  • The creation of a Senate environmental sub-committee focused on improving campus recycling
  • The student led group Sustainable Lamoni that has partnered with the Lamoni community
  • An environmental studies minor
  • Student sustainability internships and work positions
  • Local field experience and workshop opportunities for students like oak savanna restoration and owl banding projects to study migration
  • Growing change in campus land management including a rain garden and plans for a vegetable and herb garden
  • A shared car program and increase in bicycle infrastructure with bicycle fix-it stations and increased number of bike racks
  • A formal sustainability committee
  • Trayless dining at the campus food service
  • Events like clothing swaps, used bike auctions and bike trail clean ups

And this is just the beginning...