August 2013

Santa Clara University ranks in Sierra Magazine’s top 50 “Cool Schools”

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 14 2013- Santa Clara University is one of Sierra magazine's top 50 “Cool Schools” for 2013. The Sierra Club's official magazine ranks universities that lead sustainability initiatives and make an effort to protect and preserve the environment. SCU made the list at 36 for a number of factors including the amount of faculty and departments engaged in sustainability-related research, peer-to-peer educator programs, renewable energy, and alternative transportation. SCU has also set an ambitious goal to be climate neutral by the end of 2015.

“Our success is due to the growing culture of sustainability among our students, faculty, and staff. Our community is realizing that we can only reach sustainability if every member of campus contributes--from composting paper towels to making green purchasing decisions. We still have improvements to make, but more and more, sustainability is becoming a part of daily life on our campus,” says Director of Sustainability Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner.

One of the projects highlighted by Sierra is Santa Clara University’s 2013 Solar Decathlon team. Dozens of students are building a solar-powered home that creates more energy than it uses. This October, Radiant House will compete against 20 other houses based on affordability, design, and energy-efficiency in the first Solar Decathlon to be held in California. Sierra's "Best Internship on Earth" interns produced a video featuring Santa Clara University Students.

“We are so excited that Sierra magazine is recognizing our hard work,” says team leader Jake Gallau, ‘13. “Radiant House really is our contribution toward a sustainable future. We’re putting concepts to work that could revolutionize the way we think about construction and a greener world.”

Santa Clara’s unique approach to sustainability is rooted in its mission as a Jesuit university. The University places a priority on integrating social justice and sustainability to “illustrate the connections among a healthy environment, just societies, and a vibrant economy that meet all people’s fundamental needs, especially those of the global poor.”  More than 500 classes incorporate sustainability and nearly 100 faculty conduct sustainability-related research.

The Sierra magazine “Cool School” rankings can be found here:

For more on the Office of Sustainability:

For more on SCU‘s 2013 Solar Decathlon team:

Media Contact
Marika Krause| SCU Media Relations | | 408-829-4836

Program Highlights:

The Sustainability Liaison Network engages individuals to foster peer-to-peer sustainability education and transformation of campus operations. Groups include campus employees, community facilitators, student organization leaders, and students living off campus. Sustainability Liaisons meet monthly to learn about sustainability topics, SCU trends in those areas, and how they can integrate sustainable behaviors into their daily lives. Liaisons are given actions to take back to their office/residence hall/club/house as well as tools to engage their peers.

Last year, 100 students and staff were given personal compostable-waste collection pails as a pilot project to test compost collection in residences and at employee workstations. The project was a success and will be continued this academic year. Feedback from participants encouraged the Housing Office to expand recycling and compostable waste collection in residence hall common areas.

By the Numbers:

Figures Compare 2008 to 2012 to reflect the transformation a graduate in 2012 would have seen since starting at SCU in 2008.
17 percent reduction in electricity consumption per campus user. “We’re using less electricity because we’re more efficient and our campus is acquiring a culture of energy-savings,” says Cromwell Kalkbrenner.
15 percent reduction in electricity consumption per square foot of campus building space.
11 percent reduction in total electricity consumption, in spite of campus and population growth. “Even though we are growing in size and population, we’re using less energy,” says Cromwell Kalkbrenner.

564: Number of courses (2012-13) offered that are focused on or related to sustainability, in almost every academic department.
90 faculty are conducting research related to sustainability. Here is a list of faculty names and departments:

SCU composts and recycles more than it sends to landfill. The University's waste diversion rate is 57 percent.
SCU composts (food waste and biodegradable items like pizza boxes and paper towels) and recycles (plastic, glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and electronic waste). What’s left? Not much. SCU is actively working to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfills.

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