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April 30, 2019

Green Is Growing at Adelphi

Flowers Blooming on Campus

A commitment to our community has always been one of Adelphi’s driving principles. These days, the University’s definition of community has expanded beyond Long Island and the region to include the entire planet. That calls for a far-reaching commitment to sustainability.

This winter, the University took a big step toward meeting this demand by forming a Sustainable Campus Council. Composed of almost 30 members of the faculty, administration, operations staff and student body, the council is responsible for driving a culture of sustainability and developing solutions that will make Adelphi a truly green university.

“There have been many sustainability projects on campus in the past, but the council will expand them and make them even more of a focus,” said James K. Dooley, Ph.D., a professor of biology and co-leader of the council along with Robert Shipley ’05, who heads the Facilities Management Department. “There had been informal talk among the faculty about taking a more organized approach to sustainability. President Riordan stepped in and brought things together and set up the council.”

Dr. Dooley pointed to a number of important strides that have been made in the past. More than a decade ago, Adelphi became the first university in the region to install a geothermal heating and cooling system. In 2016, it completed two major construction projects: a cogeneration plant that reduces campus emissions of greenhouse gases by 4,645 metric tons a year and the 100,000-square-foot Nexus Building, which has earned LEED Silver status. The University has also placed solar panels on the roof of Swirbul Library, installed a water filtration system to encourage the use of reusable bottles, eliminated the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and adopted many other sustainable policies.

The Sustainable Campus Council has already begun adding to these accomplishments, most notably in the planning for the renovation of the Ruth S. Harley University Center. The building will have twice the dining space, but the original plans did not include dishwashing facilities. When concerns were expressed about the reliance on disposable utensils, the council worked with the University’s administration and board of trustees to change course and add dishwashers. And Adelphi’s own reusable bamboo utensils are now offered on campus.

The council also has an important educational mission.

“One of our major responsibilities is to teach students about sustainability, starting with incoming first-year students,” Dr. Dooley explained. “We’d like to begin as early as Orientation and eventually have a formal class on the subject.”

There are many things Adelphi can do to build a culture of sustainability and help students learn through hands-on experience, he said. The University can work with environmental organizations to create internships for students. It can create a community garden where students help raise fresh vegetables on campus, and it can bring local food to the dining halls. It might even build a greenhouse on campus where food can be grown year-round. A video for Earth Day gave them simple tips for living greener.

Dr. Dooley, who is the conservation chair of the Long Island Sierra Club, has also brought food experts from the environmental organization to discuss ideas for a community garden and the possibility of bringing a farmers market to campus.

“I want our students to become aware of the Sierra Club and all the environmental projects it’s involved in,” he said. “I’d like Adelphi to help our students join the club and get its magazine. That would help them become really educated citizens.”

Along with formation of the Sustainable Campus Council, the University will also begin participating in STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, a method for colleges and universities to measure sustainability performance. The goal is to earn points toward a STARS rating. Adelphi also hopes to achieve and maintain a ranking as one of the Sierra Club’s top 100 Cool Schools.

The Sustainable Campus Council has a formidable task ahead as it works to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Adelphi, improve energy and water use, and integrate sustainability into the curriculum, research programs, experiential learning opportunities and campus operations. Dr. Dooley is confident though.

“We’ve accomplished a lot since we first got together three-and-one-half months ago,” he said, “and we’re meeting early in May to plan next year’s priorities. Many new environmental laws will be going into effect, and we want to be ahead of the curve. We want to be out front.”


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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
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