The Office of Sustainability supports projects across diverse work areas, such as:
- Academic Initiatives
- Engagement and Communication
- Physical Plant and Operations
- Waste and Recycling
- Campus Living, Dining and Events
- Social and Economic Justice
- Mentors student research, specifically sustainability-related Capstone projects.
- Develops course plug-in lessons.
- Presents guest lectures in courses.
- Teaches an Introduction to Sustainability course.
- Works with Academic Affairs to integrate sustainability into the Educational Master Plan.
- Develops experiential education opportunities by using the Office of Sustainability and its ongoing projects as a ‘living laboratory’ for students.
Senior students completed Capstone research projects on "permaculture," alternative energies and native landscaping, and then made recommendations to the University.
Engagement and Communication
The Office of Sustainability offers several educational resources and opportunities, including:
- Sustainable Office Program
- Sustainable Living Guide
- Sustainable Tip of the Month
- Host educational events and forums for students and the surrounding community, including Sustainability Week every April around Earth Day
Learn more about these programs under ‘What You Can Do.’
Physical Plant and Operations
- Most lights on campus now use energy efficient bulbs and have thermal occupancy sensors.
- Almost 40 toilets were replaced with low-flow units, saving about a third of a gallon of water per flush.
- ARAMARK, our facilities service providers, uses green certified cleaning products, including "blue cleaning" (electrically activated water used in place of chemicals.) Learn more about blue cleaning here.
- The Chapel Circle was replanted with 100 percent California coastal native plants, the first of its kind on campus. Other landscaping beds feature drought-tolerant or adapted species that help conserve water and promote the native habitat.
- More than 800 tons of gravel, rock and soil from on-campus construction projects was donated to the city of Rancho Palos Verdes to be used in local public improvement projects.
- A herd of about 300 goats was purchased fire and weed abatement instead of using mechanized systems of land clearing.
Waste and Recycling
- Toured Waste Management’s local transfer station and performed a waste characterization (sorting and weighing all University waste) to help us better understand how much and what type of waste we produce.
- Performed a food waste audit in spring 2013. Students sorted out food waste from the café and student center trash for two days. They found that on average, Marymount wastes about 1,500 pounds of food a week. The Office of Sustainability plans to facilitate regular food waste audits and explore ways to educate students about how to reduce food waste.
- Performed a recycling bin audit, and ensured that all classrooms, offices and residential spaces had adequate recycling bins, as well as signage about what can and cannot be recycled.
- Made special battery recycling stations available throughout our campuses. Routine e-waste recycling pick-ups also offer a convenient and responsible way to dispose of electronic waste for employees, students and community members. In 2012-13 alone, we recycled more than 2 tons of e-waste.
Campus Living, Dining and Events
Our food service provider, Bon Appétit, is committed to more sustainable food purchasing, less waste and providing healthy options.
- About 20 percent of food purchases are local
- Meat and dairy is hormone and antibiotic free
- Fish is purchased based on Marine Stewardship Council guidelines.
- The Marymount cafe is now "trayless" to help reduced food waste, and save water and energy.
- "EcoTrays" are offered, which allows the customer to enroll in a reusable to-go box program (instead of paying a 25 cent fee for every disposable service-ware item).
Residential Life staff coordinate "Move in" and "Move out" services to promote recycling and donating furniture or other items at the beginning and end of each term.
Social and Economic Justice
In spring 2013, the Office of Sustainability teamed up with Campus Ministry and coordinated a "Fair Trade Fair" during Mission Week.
Sustainability efforts include:
- Green building and operations practices
- E-waste collection events
- Sustainability Expo.
- A bachelor's degree in Sustainability is planned for fall 2014