Our Institutional Commitments

"Broadly defined, sustainability means meeting society's present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As a Catholic, Benedictine institution, the College of Saint Benedict accepts that all creation is a gift; in exchange, we are expected to care for creation and provide stewardship for the entire community of life on Earth. Our commitment to this stewardship, by definition, incorporates the principles of sustainability: our actions should be ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable today and should continue to be so for future generations. 

As an institution committed to the Benedictine tradition and the principles of sustainability, we work to emphasize and embed these concepts into our educational mission, the operation of the physical campus, and our outreach to communities beyond the college."

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University has signed onto national commitments and made strides of our own. In 2010, Saint John's University broke ground on what was at the time the biggest contiguous solar project in Minnesota, which now fills 18.75% of SJU's solar needs. The Benedictine tradition is rich with self-sufficiency and sustainability, as Derek Larson described eloquently in this October 2020 speech.

Sustainability Master Plan

In 2012, a Sustainability Master Plan was created with seven broad categories:

The Sustainability Master Plan (SMP) directs sustainability initiatives across campus in seven priority areas. Click below for details.

Outdoor Recycling Bins

Responsible Consumption

 Student-Led Green House

Food & Dining

Inventory of Tree Species

Grounds

 

If not you, then who?

Sustainable Education

 Local Co-Op

Partnership & Outreach

 

 Campus Bus, the Link

Transportation

 

Leed Platinum Centennial Commons

Sustainable Facilities

                                                                                                                                                  

Presidential Commitments:

American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment

In 2007, Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict (under MaryAnn Baenninger) became charter signatories of the original American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). As part of our commitment to ACUPCC, we've created a climate action plan that lays out the path to carbon neutrality. By conserving energy, educating our campus community, investing in efficiency and conservation, changing our energy sources, and investing in alternative energy and carbon offsets, we will meet our goal by 2035.

By signing the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in 2007, both institutions formally committed to:

  • Incorporate sustainability into all facets of campus life
  • Calculate the campus carbon footprint
  • Develop and implement a climate action plan to reduce that footprint
  • Lead each campus to climate neutrality

In October 2015, President Hinton signed onto the Climate Commitment, pledging to develop and progress on a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that will position CSB to achieve carbon neutrality, as well as to complete a resilience assessment and take joint campus-community action to strengthen resilience.

We Are Still In

In June 2017, President Hinton reaffirmed CSB's existing commitment to reducing carbon emissions by joining the bipartisan coalition of businesses, mayors and governors, university presidents, faith leaders, tribal leaders, and cultural institutions promising to world leaders that Americans would not retreat from the global pact to reduce emissions and stem the causes of climate change.

Our Climate

Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative

In April 2018, with urging from passionate and well-informed students, President Hinton signed onto the endorsement letter and "call[ed] upon our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of current and future generations by putting a price on carbon.

Catholic Climate Covenant

CSB was the first college in Minnesota to pledge to live the vision of Pope Francis's Laudato Si', which calls for urgent action on climate change and invites everyone to care for Earth, our common home.

Commitment to Sustainability, 2013

As institutions of higher education, we strive to prepare students to be responsible citizens equipped to meet the social, ethical, local and global challenges of today. As Catholic, Benedictine institutions, we take seriously our responsibility to be stewards for the entire community of life on Earth now and into the future. To achieve these goals, we are dedicated to creating a culture of sustainability at College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

To this end, we will continue to:

  • Commit ourselves to the principles of sustainability: our actions should be ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable today and for future generations
  • Seek a leadership role exercising these principles in academics, operations and outreach
  • Strive to reflect the virtues of humility, stability and frugality within our institutional practices
  • Honor our dedication to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment signed in 2007 and the Catholic Climate Covenant signed in 2012, and
  • Endeavor to integrate sustainability into all facets of campus life.

We make this commitment on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.

MaryAnn Baenninger
President, College of Saint Benedict
Michael Hemesath
President, Saint John's University

Sustainable Programs + Annual Events

Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund

Saint John's has set aside $100,000 for zero-interest loans to projects with cost savings (Revolving Loan Fund). The cost savings will pay back the loan until 120% of the loan is paid off. As the fund grows, more and larger projects can be initiated. A committee of faculty, staff, administration, and students govern the fund. 

Tracking and Monitoring

Tracking and monitoring behaviors, resource usage, and system outputs are critical aspects in helping make Saint John's a more sustainable campus.  Since 2008, we've been calculating our carbon footprint, which includes transportation, purchased electricity, on campus heating and cooling, fugitive emissions, solid waste and air travel emissions. We've made a large amount of progress since we started tracking.  We also measure our sustainability progress every three years by participating in AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).  This publicly produced metric includes categories such as Education & Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration & Engagement.  In 2015, we are proud to have earned a silver rating.

Sustainability Week

This is an annual event organized by both CSB & SJU Sustainability offices. This is a weeklong event dedicated to educating our campus community and encouraging environmentally-friendly behaviors. In the past, events have included: a campus-wide energy challenge to see which residence hall could reduce their energy consumption the most, a variety of events co-coordinated with clubs that made students think about their energy consumption and showed them ways to reduce it, and a 'Sustainability Happy Hour' in Brother Willie's Pub which featured trivia about SJU's sustainability initiatives and other environmental topics.

Cut the Current: Energy Challenge

The energy challenge is held annually at SJU. The competition is between all living areas on campus to see which of the buildings can conserve the most energy during the course of the challenge. As an incentive, prizes are awarded to the winning building... not to mention the bragging rights! During the competition, students are given tips on how to live more sustainably and how to reduce their electricity consumption. 

Campus Conservation Nationals

Campus Conservation Nationals is a three week long conservation competition. All on-campus residential buildings compete to achieve the greatest percentage reduction in energy use by the end of the challenge. The annual competition takes place during spring semester. Both Saint John's and Saint Benedict participated in the event during February 2015.

Move Out

At the end of every school year, we work with Catholic Charities Emergency Relief Services and the Benedictine Volunteer Corps to assist us with students moving out and our "Goodwill, not Landfill" program. The SJU Office of Sustainability places boxes in every residence hall for students to place their still-usable goods. The Benedictine Volunteers Corps members help collecting the donated items. Catholic Charities comes to pick up the items and delivers them to people who need them most. In 2013, we sent 31,220 pounds of clothing, school supplies, and food to people who need them.

Sustainability Council

The Sustainability Council oversees the development and implementation of the Sustainability Master Plan. 

Sustainability Policies at CSB

As of August 31th, 2011 CSB/SJU implemented a Student Printing Policy as part of a commitment to responsible consumption and conserving resources. Students printed 12,000 less sheets of paper in Dec than May of 2011. Overall, printing is down 36%.

Responsible Printing Tip:
Modify the number of pages that print on one sheet of paper so multiple pages fit onto one side of the page. This is especially helpful for items like PowerPoint presentations. - Tip from Karen Bengtson, Education Department

PaperCut is the print management software that is used to track account printing usage and billing (if necessary).

 

Students should direct questions and problems with PaperCut to the Help Desk at #2228 or [email protected]

 

                                                                    Printing Data

Prior to Printing Policy

Sheets printed daily

Page-sides printed daily

1/10/11-2/28/11

12,909

18,808

3/1/11-3/31/11

8,033

11,932

4/1/11-4/30/11

10,600

14,262

5/1/11-5/15-11

10,909

16,155

After Printing Policy Implemented*

Sheets used daily

Page-sides printed daily

8/31/11-9/30-11

5,866

9,918

10/1/11-10/31/11

5,484

9,128

11/1/11-1/30/11

5,670

9,276

12/1/11-12/31-11

4,895

8,154

1/1/12-2/29/12 

 5,316

9,085 

3/1/12-3/31/12

5,173

8,712


*To check your printing balance, log on to any campus computer.  There is a PaperCut icon in the bottom left hand corner that displays how much money is left in your account if you place the mouse over the icon.

Faculty Printing Tip

"If it gets shredded,
don't print it!"

Meaning, if the material you are printing is not worth saving, it is not worth the paper you are printing it on. If students toss what you have given them, it may not be worth printing.
-Dan Rassier, Music Department

Have a printing tip? Please email
 [email protected].


Savings Update

In comparison to this time last semester, here are our paper savings:

  • 149,595 fewer pages have been printed
  • 4,987 fewer pages per day have been printed
  • 6.58 trees have been conserved just this semester 

Bottled Water Initiative

The Bottled Water Initiative Task Force was convened to examine the issue of plain drinking water in plastic bottles.  Comprised of representatives from the student body, facilities, culinary services, auxiliary services and the administration, this group began with a visioning process centered on the following question:

Envision a campus that has sustainably addressed the challenge of bottled water.  What do you see?  The consensus was that CSB should move forward with a ban. 
From here, the group identified 3 main areas that needed to be addressed in order to be successful; a policy must be drafted and vetted, water availability and alternative options to plain, bottled water must be identified, and an education, awareness and communication plan should be developed and implemented.   Challenge areas for implementing a policy to ban bottled water were identified and solutions developed.   (Click here for more information on challenge areas).

The College of Saint Benedict Bottled Water Policy was endorsed by the CSB Cabinet on February 1, 2011, the Sustainability Council on February 4, 2011, and the Student Senate, on February 9, 2011.  The policy went into effect in August 2011.  Learn more about the initiative.

Separate from this process, students organized a petition to garner support for a ban on bottled water. See the Bottled Water Policy link on the right.

Want to learn more about the CSB tap water source and CSB water quality? Read the reports our Facility Department send to the state: H2O 2008, H2O 2009, H2O 2010, H2O 2011.

Since becoming trayless on August 22, 2011, food waste has been reduced on average 31% each month.

Food

Food Waste 2011/2012 Comparison

Month

2011 Total Pounds

2012 Total Pounds

2011 Avg. Waste/Meal

2012 Avg. Waste/Meal

July

11,780

6,650

1.25

0.97

Aug.

18,050

7,030

0.57

0.57

Sept.

25,840

18,620

0.35

0.26

Oct.

24,510

16,150

0.37

0.26

Nov.

14,630

11,210

0.40

0.19

Dec.

12,540

15,390

0.39

0.33

Jan.

18,810

9,310

0.33

0.24

Feb.

15,960

15,960

0.29

0.24

Mar.

15,960

11,970

0.29

0.23

Apr.

17,670

14,820

0.30

0.26

May

11,210

9690

0.38

0.39

 

Food to Hogs

190 avg pounds/barrel

FY08

FY09

FY10

FY11

FY12

FY13

July

0

5,130

10,450

11,780

6,650

5,130

Aug

4,560

10,830

15,200

18,050

7,030

6,460

Sept

17,860

19,950

26,980

25,840

18,620

15,390

Oct

21,090

20,900

23,370

24,510

16,150

15,960

Nov

18,620

19,000

21,660

24,510

11,210

14,250

Dec

13,870

13,490

15,390

14,630

15,390

10,830

Jan

10,260

14,820

16,150

12,540

9,310

9,500

Feb

14,250

18,620

22,800

18,810

15,960

14,440

Mar

12,160

17,100

24,510

15,960

11,970

Apr

17,290

21,090

23,370

17,670

14,820

May

7,030

13,110

12,160

11,210

9,690

June

6,080

11,210

14,440

5,320

6,650