Other Sustainability Initiatives

The Sustainability Program is continuously looking for ways to raise environmental awareness in the community.

header pattern

Most recently, we have added an insect habitat to our rain garden, completely redone our outdoor garden on the eco plot, partnered with the Campus Kitchens Project to reduce food waste on campus, brought a bee hive and live bees to our campus, and are working on updating and improving our bike share program.

Resource Management

Graceland has included environmental performance requirements in procurement contracts for the following:

  • paper
  • cleaning
  • office supplies
  • landscaping
  • building materials
  • equipment

Paper Use

Graceland strives to reduce paper and ink usage on campus. Moving our campus toward paperless systems is one way in which the sustainability program and the Information Technology Services department are working together to reduce our campus printing footprint.

Cleaning Products

  • Ninety percent of daily cleaners are Green Seal Certified
  • All mattings are Green Seal Certified.
  • Seventy percent of wet mops are Green Seal Certified.
  • Graceland continues to transition from traditional mopping products to microfiber mops.
  • All of the paper products purchased (toilet paper and hand towels) are Green Seal Certified.
  • All hand soaps are Green Seal Certified.
  • All trash can liners meet the standards for post-consumer waste (made with resins that contain at least 10 percent post-consumer waste).
  • Graceland uses Green Seal Certified Dilution Control products dispensing systems (reduces likeliness of harsh cleaner ratios, produces less waste and is safer for workers to handle).

Rain Garden

In 2012, Graceland University partnered with local environmental agencies to build an enhanced rain garden on the Lamoni campus. A rain garden is a depression sculpted into the landscape, planted with perennial flowers and native vegetation, to help soak up rainwater runoff. It is strategically located to capture runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs, streets, sidewalks, parking lots, etc. Rain gardens are designed so that the storm water they capture infiltrates into the garden and thereby slowly contributes to groundwater flow within 24-48 hours of a rain event. Take-away message: Rather than storm water flowing directly into storm drains where it would contribute to local water bodies in the form of untreated water, the rain garden intercepts the storm flow and improves water quality.

Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Decatur County Public Health, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Graceland University Facilities Services and the Department of Math and Sciences, campus Sustainability Coordinator, Jennifer Abraham-White, has transformed a small parcel of campus turfgrass, located west of Resch Science and Technology Hall, into an educational demonstration rain garden. Representatives of the aforementioned government agencies help keep the project low-cost with the donation of native flora (USFWS), pro bono design and technical guidance (NRCS and IDALS). Decatur County Public Health funded the educational signage.

In addition, the rain garden not only demonstrates how Lamoni residents can improve water quality in their backyards, but it also provides a native pollinator habitat for species like the migrating monarch butterfly and the honeybee.

“This project was a great collaboration between Graceland and several Iowa environmental agencies. What’s great is that we have something beautiful and regenerative to show for our alliance. I’m now looking at what other locations on campus could benefit from a second rain garden. My thoughts are leaning toward a milkweed theme; a native plant species that is often overlooked.”  — Jennifer Abraham-White

Photos of the Graceland Rain Garden

header pattern
GU & You CSA

GU & YOU is a community supported agriculture venture that uses sustainable techniques to grow non-chemically treated, fresh-from-the-garden produce. Customers pay once before each season for weekly produce pickups at the hoop house garden – a share of everything that is harvested at the end of each week. All the produce is divided into the number of shares sold, bagged and sent home with the customers.

Sustainability student worker Morgan McKnabb spearheaded the GU & YOU CSA project. Since its inception, because of each student workers’ dedication and passion, GU & YOU CSA has continued to be very successful. Produce such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, radishes, squash, spinach, watermelon, and more have left the hoop house with GU & YOU CSA customers, which is where the main portion of our produce goes. Leftover or excess amounts of produce are distributed to the campus food service or the local food pantry to reduce food waste.