The University makes an effort to continuously improve its sustainability efforts to create a sustainable, efficient, and healthy atmosphere for students, faculty, and staff. These initiatives have led to certifications in green building standards, urban forest management, and more. Additional information regarding Mount Union's sustainability certifications can be found below.
Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)
Mount Union is Assessing its current level of sustainability and is a pilot campus for the AASHE STARS program.
STARS is a voluntary, self-reporting framework for gauging relative progress toward sustainability for colleges and universities. STARS is designed to:
- Provide a guide for advancing sustainability in all sectors of higher education, from governance and operations to academics and community engagement.
- Enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions by establishing a common standard of measurement for sustainability in higher education.
- Create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability.
- Facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.
- Build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community and promote a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that includes its social, economic and environmental dimensions.
The University of Mount Union’s President was among the first 500 college and university presidents to the sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008. The ACUPCC was a high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption undertaken by a network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.
Mount Union has accomplished the following steps of the commitment:
- Created a Sustanability Management Advisory Committee
- Initiated a sustainable purchasing plan
- Taken specific steps to reduce waste
- Conducted a greenhouse gas inventory
- Developed a climate action plan to take the campus to a level of climate neutrality.
In 2016, President Merriman signed the following Climate Leadership Statement and re-committed the University of Mount Union to Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment.
CLIMATE LEADERSHIP STATEMENT
We, the undersigned presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities, believe firmly in the power, potential, and imperative of higher education’s key role in shaping a sustainable society. Not only are we deeply concerned about the increasing pace and intensity of global climate change and the potential for unprecedented detrimental impacts, but we also understand that technology, infrastructure, global interconnectedness, and our greatest asset – engaged, committed, smart students – allow us to explore bold and innovative solutions and to lead in climate action and sustainable solutions.
We have begun to experience the effects of climate change in our communities and we understand that these effects are projected to become more severe and damaging. We recognize that mitigation and adaptation are complementary strategies for reducing the likelihood of unmanageable change, managing the risks, and taking advantage of new opportunities created by our changing climate.
We believe colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by providing the knowledge, research, practice, and informed graduates to create a positive and sustainable future. Along with other aspects of sustainability, campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by integrating resilience into their curriculum, research, and campus operations will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a vital, ethical, and prosperous civil society.
We further believe that exerting leadership in addressing climate change will reduce our long-term energy costs and the costs of climate disturbance, increase our quality of life, attract excellent students and faculty, and build the support of alumni and local communities.
We have resolved to take action in the Carbon Commitment. We believe carbon neutrality and resilience are extremely high priority areas of action for all institutions and we aim to lead the nation in these efforts. We urge others to join us in transforming society towards a sustainable, healthy, and more prosperous future.
The Carbon Commitment is focused on reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible. The University of Mount Union has committed to achieving Carbon Neutrality in the year 2046, which the bicentennial year of our institutions founding.
Gartner Welcome Center is a LEED Silver building – the first in the City of Alliance. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating system. The green building attributes include a geothermal heat pump, zero use of CFC refrigerants in the HVAC system, automatic lighting controls, large use of materials with significant recycled content, higher glazing in windows, low flow fixtures, and high efficiency mechanical and electrical system. UMU has committed to building all new structures to LEED standards.
Tree Campus USA program recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests and strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities centered on campus, and community, forestry efforts.
Colleges and universities across the United States can be recognized as a Tree Campus USA college by meeting five standards developed to promote healthy trees and student involvement. The five standards are: Campus Tree Advisory Committee, Campus Tree Care Plan, Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures, Arbor Day Observance, and Service Learning Projects. The University of Mount Union has been a Tree Campus USA since 2010. The UMU campus boasts well over 1,300 trees.