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Mount Union College Raising Environmental Awareness

June 13, 2007

It is not easy being green but Mount Union College has been using its experts and resources to raise awareness on the importance of sustainability on the campus and in the community.

Recent building projects on the campus have been sensitive to environmental responsibility, according to Dr. Richard Giese, president of the College.

'During the past two years, we have renovated and constructed a number of buildings on our campus,' Giese said. 'In every case, we have worked with our architects and contractors to improve our efforts in being responsible to the environment.'

The College's most recent renovation project involved the dining facilities at the Hoover-Price Campus Center in which AVI FoodSystems and Baker Bednar & Associates combined to use a 'green building design' The characteristics of this design included enhanced air quality using environmentally clean technology; recycled products in booths, light wells and flooring; optimized energy performance in the kitchen exhaust and other air systems; and a conscious effort to use products that are either extracted or manufactured within the region.

Moreover, according to Patrick Heddleston, vice president for business affairs at the College, a factor in the selection of AVI as the College's food service provider was its past history and commitment to green initiatives. 'AVI is grounded in a commitment to sustainability and has established a proven track record at other institutions,' Heddleston said. 'AVI has a commitment to family values that include using local farmers and fresh produce. They have a 'think global, buy local' mantra.'

Giese also pointed out that the new apartment-style buildings on Hartshorn Street and Union Avenue that will house 170 students starting in the fall of 2007 have been built with the environment in mind. A total of 40 more beds will be added with new housing construction beginning in September when the lease at 623 W. State St. expires. Florescent lighting, low-flush toilets, triple pane window systems and 'green' standard quality carpeting using recycled materials are all part of the overall design. 'While we feel committed to environmentally sound principles, especially in our more recent projects, we intend to be aggressive and be a leader in our community and among higher education institutions in promoting green initiatives in the future,' Giese said.

According to Giese, the College is poised for this leadership role given the opportunities presented by the operation of the Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center and the commitment by the science faculty in state-of-the-art Bracy Hall. 'We have a number of faculty members who are environmental scientists who can guide us to be more responsible as a community as well as individual citizens,' Giese said. 'We have formed our own campus sustainability committee and are looking forward to joining forces with Mayor Middleton's 'green team' of Alliance citizens.'

Among the initiatives Giese foresees beyond what has already been done are sensitivity to materials being used inside the buildings as well as on the grounds; enhanced recycling efforts; energy efficiency throughout the campus; and intentional educational sessions with students, faculty and staff of the College.

'Part of being a responsible citizen is putting into practice what we know is right,' Giese said. 'Mount Union College remains committed to a leadership role in helping to keep the environment safe.'

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