April 17, 2009 | Myrna Anderson

There are two new resources geared to educating and motivating the Calvin community toward greater environmental sustainability: the Campus Sustainability Guide and the Green Wiki.

You can save up to three gallons of water a day by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving. There is a toll-free number that allows you to opt out of credit card offers, thus reducing your junk mail. Based on 2008 data, 78 percent of the local food purchased by Calvin is milk.

These facts were gleaned from two new resources geared to educating and motivating the Calvin community toward greater environmental sustainability: the Campus Sustainability Guide—available both in printed and online form—and the Green Wiki, available through Knightvision.

Tips for rethinking

Both guide and wiki were authored by Dawn Crook, an administrative assistant in the Calvin office of the provost. “We really want to encourage campus feedback,” she said of the new resources. The campus sustainability guide offers both a mission statement on living sustainably and tips for doing so. The guide is organized by sections on rethinking waste, energy use (Turn off your computer when you’re not using it!) transportation, water consumption and food.)

It lists Calvin student organizations and community groups committed to sustainability; it also lists the ways the college is already working toward greater greenness, the Bunker Center, Environmental Stewardship Committee and van Reken Family Residence Hall among them.

Discussing creation care

Green Wiki (available on Knightvision at kv.calvin.edu/go/csc) provides a place for the entire Calvin community to interact around issues of sustainability. “When I started this, I wasn’t sure what a wiki was—I’m still not sure what a wiki is,” Crook joked. “It’s a place where people can have an online discussion about creation care.” The Green Wiki provides discussion boards as well as green facts, myths and tips, links to organizations and resources, even a sustainability scorecard authored by engineering professor Matt Heun.

Both the Campus Sustainability Guide and the Green Wiki were born from last year’s campus Sustainability Summit, a May 2008 gathering of 75 representatives from various Calvin departments. The summit challenged these staff and faculty members to brainstorm sustainable goals for their departments based on the 13-point Calvin College Statement on Sustainability, authored by the Environmental Stewardship Coalition (ESC.)

Sustainable goals

“When the statement was approved, it gave us our marching orders,” said Calvin director of community engagement Gail Heffner. “We tried to get people to think about the points that were important for their departments.”

The guide was pioneered by the student version of the ESC, and the wiki by Calvin Information Technology, and Crook brought both projects to fruition. “It took Dawn having interest in the issue and pulling it together to pull it off,” said Heffner.

“I think it’s important because as Reformed Christians, we are called to care for God’s earth … ,” Heffner continued. “There has been a lot of work done by faculty to weave it into creation care and sustainability into the classes they teach. Beyond just trying to weave it into our curriculum … this is about improving the whole community.”

Screenshot from the Campus Sustainability Guide

Screenshot from the Green Wiki on KnightVision

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