SJC Receives $25,000 Grant from the Helen Brach Foundation

April 17, 2013

Saint Joseph's College has received a $25,000 grant, Teaching through Modeling to Create a Culture of Sustainability on Campus, from the Helen Brach Foundation. The grant will be used to convert the main dining facilities in the Halleck Student Center into a teaching model for sustainable practices to create a culture of sustainability on campus through education and awareness.

As part of the green conversion, the Garden Gate, an outdoor dining and collaborative learning space, will be created. Consistent with the College's mission and values, the implementation of sustainable practices and the use of recycled products in the main dining facilities will significantly reduce the solid waste stream. The Garden Gate will provide students with examples of green products and practices and will enable faculty, staff, and administrators to demonstrate teaching through modeling with values and behaviors that foster sustainable living among students on campus.

The Garden Gate will contribute to inspiring young people to think about the world, their relationship to it, and their ability to influence it in an entirely new way through interdisciplinary collaborative learning and hands-on experiences in sustainability education and food systems.

Other goals of the project include: developing a food composting and data collection system for pre- and post-consumer food waste; developing and implementing a system for recycling materials and collecting data in the kitchen; and creating targeted curriculum in sustainability education related to food systems and green products that utilizes the data collected in the facilities.

It is the goal of SJC to open the Garden Gate and have students engaging in daily green dining and hands-on, experiential learning at the start of the 2013-14 academic year. Two sustainability interns will complete an initial waste assessment and conduct ongoing waste audits of food waste and other recyclables and post the data in the Cafeteria. Faculty who teach Core 6 will use the data in the course's required sustainability project, a student inquiry project that focuses on environmental issues on campus.

"When administration, faculty, and staff show support for sustainability through volunteerism and contributions to special projects, include sustainability in long-range planning, build connections through Campus Ministry, and incorporate hands-on learning into course projects, they make a bold statement that sustainability matters at SJC," said Associate Professor of Education Dr. Lana Zimmer.

Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.

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