The Path to a Sustainable Moravian


New installments called “hydration stations,” such as this one in the HUB, can be found all over campus as part of the sustainability initiative.

Moravian College prides itself on its initiatives regarding sustainability. With this year’s IN FOCUS theme being just that, the Moravian community is jumping on the sustainability bandwagon and working to make a difference.

Dr. Theresa Dougal, co-chair of the IN FOCUS group and a  member of the campus sustainability committee, is pushing for everyone on campus to become aware of the effect sustainability has on a community.

“I adhere to the idea that we all owe our respect to future generations and our behavior on this planet should reflect that. We should aim to leave it in the best shape possible,” Dougal said.

Dr. Frank Kuserk, the other co-chair of IN FOCUS and former co-chair of the sustainability committee, has focused on ecology at Moravian for nearly 40 years. He has noticed large changes occurring on campus in the past few years.

“Last year, we created the Green Hound Fund. Alumnus Jon Soden and his family donated money ten or more years ago to set up sustainable projects. Last year they challenged the College that they would donate more money if they saw that the College was taking sustainability more seriously, so we did,” Kurserk said. “All two hundred and one lampposts outside are now LED operated, and other actions are being taken.”

There are many hidden gems at Moravian that contribute to maintaining the sustainability ethos, which  Dr. Shana Weber of Princeton University noted in her talk to the College on Sept. 19.

Randy Haffling has been involved with sustainability initiatives at Moravian for a number of years. As the grounds and facilities manager, he has been behind successful “green” projects, including the rain garden on South campus, as well as an inventory of the trees on campus.

Another instrumental piece to the sustainability puzzle is student involvement. The ECO Club has been promoting environmentally-friendly practices for many years at Moravian.

“The goal of ECO is to bring a sense of sustainability to campus. We’re trying to educate and make people more aware of sustainability,” said senior Joshua Toth,  ECO’s president.

Dr. Shari Dunham, the adviser of the ECO Club, shares a feeling that many of the faculty and staff at Moravian do: that students need to be more involved and aware of sustainability.

“I don’t think that any of the projects get advertised enough. There are a lot of things happening but nobody knows about them. We need a [full-time] campus sustainability coordinator to make everyone more aware of what we’re doing,” Dunham said.

Dougal, who has taken numerous strides in her own life to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, agrees.

“Encouraging more people to think sustainably is difficult. There is so much wasted food in the cafeteria, for example. If the campus required different offices to act sustainably, it would help. Achieving zero waste is the goal,” Dougal said.  

The goal is to promote student involvement around campus, which Kuserk believes is an easy task.

“I was really pleased with the number of students that came out to the Weber event. It was focusing on faculty and administrative staff to be there, but I saw students come and go. I’ve seen that our own environmental club has grown and students are listening,” Kuserk  said.

The sustainability ethos at Moravian has grown tremendously in the past few years, from the new water bottle filling stations to the recycling bins at every corner.

The IN FOCUS group, the sustainability committee, and ECO are all making efforts to promote sustainability this year. Events this year will include a talk by Eric Rutkow, author of American Canopy; the Green Movement; cleanups of the creeks; art exhibitions regarding sustainability; and many more talks by renowned speakers.

Maintaining the sustainability ethos on Moravian’s campus is not an easy task, but it can be done with involvement and willingness to participate from everyone in the community.