Gettysburg College has been pursuing sustainable decision making for over three decades. As the world’s environmental issues grow more and more severe the College has reacted though its increased commitment to sustainability. Sustainability itself promotes mindful actions and decision-making in regards to the environment, the economy, and society.
Gettysburg College is committed to its mission of environmental stewardship in all of its activities. In practice, this commitment means we work to enhance and protect the environment through our teaching, research, service, operations, decision-making, and all aspects of our daily lives. As a learning institution, we believe Gettysburg College community members are collectively and individually responsible for the way our actions and choices impact all aspects of the local and global environment.
The College recognizes that achieving environmental sustainability is an evolving practice and requires our ongoing diligence. To this end, we are committed to practices and programs that are in keeping with the College's larger strategic objectives and the campus Sustainability Proposal.
The College continues to work towards the reductions of its impacts as well as increasing the quality of its campus experience for its students and employees. Gettysburg College, as a sustainable campus, must address all three pillars of sustainability, the environmental, the economic, and the social. Environmentally, the College works to reduce and eliminate its ecological footprint; economically, it must make purchases and investments within its budgetary constraints; and socially, the Gettysburg College community must increase its awareness regarding local and global educational, emotional, and physical needs.
Specific campus sustainability efforts have been in place for decades. The campus’ highly successful recycling program has been in place since the 1980s, and in 2002 Gettysburg College decided to purchase wind-derived energy. The institution itself has pledged its dedication through its inclusion of sustainability in the College’s Strategic Directions Plan, which was constructed between 2005 and 2007 to define and guide the College’s future growth. This plan has led to several sustainable initiatives on campus, such as the LEED Gold Certified Jaeger Center and the near equal student-to-tree ratio on campus. Administrators, faculty, and staff are also involved in campus through the work of the Sustainability Committee, which has implemented campus initiatives such as automatic double-sided printing and the paperless pay system.
One of the largest contributors to campus sustainability have been the students themselves. Gettysburg College urges its students to take leadership positions and to seriously consider the implications of their lifestyles, leading to successful and sustainable student-led campus enterprises. In 1990, the campus environmental club, G.E.C.O. was founded to promote sustainable endeavors on campus; in 2005 an Environmental Studies senior capstone created the on-campus organic garden, The Painted Turtle Farm; and in 2009 Farmhouse, a sustainability and social justice theme house, was founded to foster mindful living practices while working towards carbon neutrality.
The undertakings of Gettysburg College and its members towards a more sustainable future are documented further on the individual pages of this website and are constantly being updated as new information and projects take place.