Friends University embraces sustainability initiatives

Friends University has been embracing a series of sustainability initiatives on its campus in recent years, including the most recent launch of a new conservation science degree and a wind energy agreement with Westar Energy.

“Students care deeply about sustainability and environmental issues on a local, national and global scale. They want to be sure their university 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. We are stewards of God’s world, and it’s our responsibility to care for all His creatures and their life-sustaining resources.”


Friends University recently approved a new Bachelor of Science in Conservation Science that will start in Fall 2019. The new program prepares students to work in and around the fields of biological and natural resource conservation.

The core part of the curriculum focuses on biology and ecology and features travel-based classes where students can visit natural caves, beaches and freshwater ecosystems. Students will learn about wildlife rehabilitation, ecosystem management and environmental science.

“This program is a unique and perfect fit for today’s students who have a passion to care for and nurture their environment,” said Dr. Ana Jurcak-Detter, assistant professor of biology. “While many other programs offer biology or science-based courses, our students will also take courses in politics, public policy and sustainability. They can also tailor the degree by taking courses within eight subdisciplines.”

For instance, a student could combine the program’s biology and ecology courses with courses from other disciplines to incorporate sustainability and conservation within a business setting or through environmental education, government advocacy, wildlife law enforcement, nature-focused writing and more. For more information about the new program, visit


Friends University is one of 14 Kansas organizations enrolled in Westar’s new Green Energy Program and will be able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center. The agreement will lock in a portion of the university’s electricity prices for up to 20 years. Friends expects to save approximately $30,000 annually based on today’s energy utilization rates. The wind farm will be built in Nemaha County and will begin operations by the end of 2020.

“We applaud Friend’s University’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions,” said Chuck Caisley, senior vice president, public affairs and marketing and chief customer officer, for Westar Energy. “Renewables Direct provides cost-effective access to Kansas’ excellent wind energy resources. We appreciate their role in making the introduction of this new program a success.”

Other existing projects that continue to contribute to a more sustainable campus, include:

  • Solar Panels – These panels above the entrance to Edmund Stanley Library produce DC electricity, which is converted into AC electricity and provides some energy cost savings for the building. The university received an $80,000 grant from Westar in 2016 to install the system.
  • Recycling Program – The campus’ recycling program collects office paper, junk mail, magazines/catalogs, newspapers, aluminum cans, glass and more.
  • Paul’s Pond – The pond and its water fountain located by Kellogg Avenue are not just a pretty water feature that attracts a variety of wildlife. It also plays an important role in helping to control waste water runoff on campus.

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