Friday is Earth Day. PLNU observes the spirit of Earth Day all through the year, with the diverse activities during the annual Creation Care Week in the fall and Bike the Jam once a month. On Friday, PLNU will be joining in on the observance and festivities by holding a special edition Bike The Jam, where participants will get free coffee if they bring a reusable mug.
PLNU has been ramping up efforts to care for creation for years. Residence halls produce limited waste and are energy efficient. In 2010, Finch Hall was completely remodeled with sustainability in mind, adding recycled-content carpet, a filtered water filling station, a sink-to-toilet grey water recycling system, and natural lighting.
The Green Fund, a student-initiated fee of five dollars per semester, was set up to increase funds for energy, water, and resource conservation efforts on campus. It provides about $25,000 for projects each year. In 2010, the fund provided for a bike service station, more fruit trees on campus, and a community garden expansion.
The Octopus Garden, affectionately named by its founders at Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA), offers plots for green or brown-thumbed students, faculty, and staff to try their hands at tending a small crop. Sprouting this season are quinoa, corn, lettuce, grapes, and carrots, just to name a few.
PLNU students also have the opportunity to engage more deeply in the academic side of creation care by signing up for PLNU’s sustainability studies minor, which began in fall 2010. The interdisciplinary program brings together perspectives from business, biology, theology, sociology, and other areas.
Other creation care highlights from around campus include:
- A tray-less cafeteria that ensures 30 percent of its food is from local sources
- Composting of cafeteria waste
- A growing solar panel system that will provide more than 40 percent of the university’s peak period electricity consumption when completed
- Hydration stations around campus where reusable water bottles can be refilled for free
- Water-saving shower switches that allow water flow to be reduced by 75 percent while maintaining water temperature
- Waterless urinals and low-flow or dual-flush toilets that save approximately 40,000 gallons of water a year