Sustainability University Efforts | Saint Francis University
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Sustainability University Efforts

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  • What is Saint Francis University doing?

    Saint Francis University engages in several university-wide efforts to promote sustainability.

    Here are just a few ways in which our University is looking towards the future:

  • Recycling

    Saint Francis University implemented a recycling program in 1991 to reduce landfill waste and demonstrate Franciscan stewardship of our environment. Most classrooms and offices have paper collection and in many hallways one will find collection bins. A number of items are also accepted at the large community recycling bins located at 350 Saint Joseph Street, Loretto, PA.
    Learn more about this program and what can be recycled.

    Geothermal Heat Pumps & Albedo Roof

    SustainUniversity_RoofPumps_InTextThe DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness features a geothermal heating and cooling system that reduces the amount of pollution emissions that would be generated from traditional heating sources.  In addition, the albedo (white) roof reflects solar light to reduce the amount of heat that the DiSepio Institute receives. 


    SustainUniversity_EcoSteps_InTextDining services uses a term called “EcoSteps" to communicate the steps we are taking to reduce our environmental footprint. These EcoSteps are “our steps to sustainability” to continually expand our role as a socially responsible university while providing exceptional hospitality to all of our guests.  The EcoStep’s logo highlights items that are part of our sustainability program. Below are the EcoSteps that St. Francis Dining currently has accomplished:

    • Commitment to local foods through our FarmSource program 
    • rBGH-free milk products from Vale Wood Dairy
    • Eliminated trays to reduce food waste and water consumption
    • Introduced reusable “Eco-clam Shells” to eliminate Styrofoam containers.
    • Hoop House supplies year round herbs and seasonal vegetables grown by students. 
    Lake St. Francis Watershed Nature Trail

    Located on campus, this 1.5 mile path winds though a variety of different nature habitats on campus. The trail was designed to provide access to the University's quieter, more natural areas and to increase knowledge of our local ecology. In addition to its recreational use, the trail and surrounding ecosystem are used by the Biology Department and other members of the campus and local community as a site to conduct scientific research and to promote environmental education. The trail is open to use by all members of the community.

    Hydration Stations

    SustainUniversity_Hydration_InTextRefilling a water bottle is made easy with hydration stations located in buildings around campus. Station locations include:

    • DiSepio Institute
    • JFK Student Center (lower level)
    • Science Center
    • Schwab Hall
    • Stokes Athletic Center
    Captain Michael McGuire Memorial Park

    SustainUniversity_Park_InTextThe park, located on the southern edge of campus, has been designed to provide residents, students, and visitors a multi-purpose area to enjoy recreational and learning opportunities. Features such as a walking path, fitness stations, outdoor classroom, playground equipment, picnic tables, grills, benches, and bike racks provide users with a wide variety of options for recreational and health and wellness activities.

    Utilizing sustainable and green building practices were integral to the park’s construction. The project site is adjacent to a portion of natural woodland and wetland complex that runs along the floodplain of an unnamed tributary to Clearfield Creek. Over the years, the land had been used to hold rock and soil construction wastes. During construction, these previously disturbed wetland areas were restored by removing the earth and rock fill and great care was taken to avoid additional impacts.

    The vision for the park was to present a natural, sustainable, and inviting outdoor space as opposed to a well-manicured, programmed area with a sterile feel. Bioretention/rain garden areas have been constructed along the sides of the park to absorb drainage and runoff. Plantings include PA native species (including Red Maples, Tulip Trees, and Eastern Hemlocks) as well as vegetated swales and “no mow” meadow grasses around the park’s boundaries. The outdoor classroom, fitness stations, benches, picnic tables, and trash/recycling receptacles are mounted on permeable bases to assist with runoff. The playground equipment, picnic tables, and benches are made from recycled plastic materials and the restrooms are an environmentally-friendly waterless system.

    Learn more about McGuire Park