University celebrates environmentally friendly initiatives

Earth Day is scheduled for April 22 this year and as that day approaches, Friends University is celebrating some recent and ongoing environmentally friendly initiatives on its campus.

“Our students care deeply about the environment on a global, national and local scale, and they want to be sure their university of choice shares their concern,” said Dr. Amy Bragg Carey, Friends University president. “Caring for the world and its resources in the name of future generations has always been a part of Friends University’s Quaker heritage as a Christian university. We continually evaluate how we can be a ‘green’ campus and steward our resources well.”

Some of the more recent and ongoing “green” projects or activities on campus include:

Sustainable living speaker scheduled for April 4-5

Ma’ikwe Ludwig, executive director of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, will present “Sustainable Is Possible: Creating Low-Carbon, High-Quality Lives…Together” at 7 p.m. April 4 and at 9:30 a.m. April 5. Both presentations will take place in Alumni Auditorium in the Davis Administration Building on the Friends University campus. She will explain how to live a high-quality life while living on approximately 10 percent of the resources of the average American. A question and answer session will follow her presentations.

Solar Panels to be installed at library starting April 4

Westar Energy has awarded Friends University an $85,000 grant and will install a solar awning above the entrance to Edmund Stanley Library. The awning will produce DC electricity, which will be converted into AC electricity that will provide some energy cost savings for the building. Construction is expected to begin April 4 and a touch-screen kiosk in the library will educate students, faculty, staff and visitors about solar energy.

Grant to help campus become tobacco-free

Friends University has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation to establish a tobacco-free campus. Key components of this initiative will include providing tobacco cessation information to the campus community, establishing a tobacco-free advisory committee, recruiting a team of student and staff tobacco-free ambassadors, outlining a communications plan and campaign, developing campaign materials created by student interns, installing signage and implementing an official tobacco-free policy. Planning begins this spring, and the goal is for Friends University to become tobacco-free by July 1, 2017.

Students to nurture plants on Earth Day April 22

Students will be encouraged to care for and decorate succulent plants as part of Earth Day activities April 22.

Students lead on-campus recycling initiatives

Student Government Association student senators oversee the recycling program that was established by students in 2008. They collect recyclables across campus on a weekly basis, including office paper, junk mail, magazines/catalogs, newspapers, aluminum cans, glass and more. Recycling bins are currently available in Casado Campus Center, Riney Fine Arts Center, Olive White Garvey Business and Technology Building, William Penn Science Building, and Davis Administration Building. They are also available in some residence halls, including Friends Village and Green Residence Hall with plans to add bins in Smith Apartments this summer.

Students exercise “green thumbs” through community garden

Students from Leadership, Education, Action, Development and Service (LEADS) enjoy growing produce as part of a community garden located to the north of Smith Apartments. They pitch in to help plant, weed and harvest the produce, which is available to anyone on campus who is interested in receiving it. The group recently received a $2,000 grant from Whole Foods to help fund infrastructure of the garden that will allow Northfield School of the Liberal Arts (a private secondary school located down the street from the University) to participate. LEADS students hope to explore opportunities to donate produce to local food banks and get other groups on campus involved in the garden.

Paul’s Pond serves as more than just a pretty feature

While Paul’s Pond and its pretty water fountain adds a scenic component to the Friends University campus as well as the Kellogg corridor into downtown Wichita, not everyone may know that it also plays an important role in helping to control waste water runoff on campus. The pond was created when dirt had to be excavated to build up the construction site for Green Residence Hall due to a low water table in the area.

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.