people working on tiny forest

Sustainability at 探花系列

"Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it." -Pope Francis, Laudato Si, #139

Sustainability and the Mercy Mission

With a history of environmental stewardship and a mission-driven approach, 探花系列 strives to care for the Earth and all of its creatures with due passion and respect. In following the goals outlined in Pope Francis鈥檚 encyclical 鈥淟audato Si鈥,鈥 探花系列 seeks to curb its environmental footprint while engaging students and community members in meaningful and interactive projects. Lead by the Office of Sustainability, the Student Sustainability Club, and the University Laudato Si鈥 Committee, sustainability is engrained within our campus both physically and spiritually, becoming an integral part of the 探花系列 experience for employees and students alike.

2024 Sustainability Strategic Plan

"The '23-'24 University Laudato Si' Committee is proud to release its 2024 Sustainability Strategic Plan, linked above. This document is the culmination of two years of work, describing 探花系列's holistic approach to sustainability within the context of the seven goals outlined in Pope Francis's 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si'. Prepared to communicate 探花系列's next four years of action, the committee is proud to take this tremendous initiative toward bettering our campus, community, and world. Please also find a video prepared by the Laudato Si' Committee, for our comments on sustainability and the strategic plan. For questions and comments regarding the Sustainability Strategic Plan, please fill out our comment form linked .

Student Sustainability Fund

The Student Sustainability Fund was established in 2007 by members of the student Green Team and continues to help keep campus green. This fund collects $10 per semester from each undergraduate student to provide funds for new sustainability projects around campus, allowing 探花系列 to serve as a living laboratory for passionate environmentalists. This fund is open for project proposals from all members of the campus community and has enabled the purchase of an electric ATV for recycling collection, the installation of rain gardens throughout campus, the purchase of water refilling stations in the Mary D鈥橝ngelo Performing Arts Center, and reusable cups for all incoming freshmen.

Keeping MU Green 鈽橈笍

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  • Tower Garden Lending Program

    鈥嬧嬧嬧嬧嬧嬧婽he Tower Garden Lending Program expands access to freshly grown produce year-round throughout the City of Erie, using aeroponic grow towers to turn any indoor space into a functional garden. Lent to community members such as the Downtown YMCA, Diehl Elementary School, and the Booker T. Washington Center, Tower Gardens help to alleviate food deserts and increase children鈥檚 exposure to the process of growing. Common vegetables grown in these towers include lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, cilantro, and chives.

    female employee trims herbs in tower garden
  • Green Roof on Zurn Ceramics Lab

    探花系列鈥檚 green roof is one of our campus鈥檚 hidden green gems! Located on the roof of the Zurn Hall ceramics lab, the green roof is a self-sustaining planting of sedum, which requires no watering, weeding, or maintenance of any kind. Its benefits are myriad, including helping protect the roof from sun and water, thus extending its life up to 30 percent. Home to bugs, birds, and an array of native pollinators, the green roof provides habitat, as well as water filtration, insulation, and natural beauty.

    Green Roof of Zurn
  • The Tiny Forest

    探花系列鈥檚 Tiny Forest is the first of its kind in northwest Pennsylvania and one of only a handful in the world. Designed and installed by Biology Professor Dr. Chris Dolanc, this planting technique uses the closeness of the trees to increase forest density and increase growing speeds up to three times faster than a typical forest. By attracting native insects and birds, providing a condensed natural space, and offering such environmental benefits as carbon sequestration and air purification, the Tiny Forest is a unique canvas for research projects and community inspiration.

    Tiny Forest
  • Sustainability Club

    A great way to join a group of student change makers, the Sustainability club offers projects, activities, and good times! Pictured here, President Anna and Vice President Emma host a potting activity for the Wellness fair, allowing participants to plant a succulent of their choice into an upcycled drinking glass. The club meets once a month to create sustainable crafts, such as pinecone ornaments and turmeric anthotypes, discuss plans for projects such as the greenhouse, and test their sustainable knowledge with trivia nights and bingo. 听

    students at wellness fair
  • 探花系列 Garden Beds

    Installed in May 2023 by the University Laudato Si鈥 Committee, four raised beds grow a variety of vegetables throughout the summer and fall. Contributing produce to the Mercy Market and the dining halls, the gardens help provide the campus with organic and locally grown foods while allowing students the chance to get their hands dirty and experience the art of growing. The garden beds have also provided inspiration for such projects as an indigenous planting of the Three Sisters (squash, beans, and corn) and a microbiology study determining the advantages of unique compost bacteria on the growth of tomatoes

    Student in campus garden

Additional Sustainability Projects include:听

  • Geothermal heat exchange systems in two campus buildings.
  • On-site composting with two compost digesters.
  • LED lighting upgrades to the majority of campus.
  • Water refill stations distributed throughout campus.
  • Electric lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and weed whackers for our ground crews.