Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of many commonly asked questions the Office of Sustainability Practices receives, to make any recommendations for additional helpful responses please email us at sustains@gvsu.edu

Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Therefore, to sustain life on Earth we must use our resources in a manner that allows us to thrive without infringing on the ability of future generations to do the same. This entails acting in a manner that promotes economic vitality, environmental conservation and social equality.

Check out our waste sorting page for detailed information on how to sort your waste into compost, recycling and landfill. 

The Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) is located at 4539 Luce St, Jenison, MI 49428.

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We do! GVSU financed a subscription to the Solar Garden up front and receives a monthly credit on their Consumers Energy electric bill for the next 25 years. GVSU also received additional funds to construct 2 mini solar arrays and for the development of an educational curricula over 6 years.

Consumers Energy built and maintains the 3 megawatt solar garden on approximately 17 acres of university property in Allendale, Michigan. GVSU agreed to subscribe for 500 kW which will generate enough electricity to operate approximately 70 to 80 homes for one year.

For more information: gvsu.edu/ens/solargarden/

Yes! Visit GVSU LakerLink to find student organizations within the Service & Advocacy categories to join. However our immediate sustainability groups are the Green Team, Alternative Breaks, Farm Club, Student Environmental Coalition, Beekeepers Club etc.

If you need a recycling bin at your desk, ask your area custodian or contact Facilities. servicef@gvsu.edu 

Recycling on campus is a joint effort between several departments within the Division of Facilities Services and the campus community. For Pew campus operations, you can find us at the Facilities Services "Grand Rapids and Regional Centers ”. For Allendale campus, please use the Facilities Services "Allendale Campus ”. Call Customer Service at 331-3000 

We take recycling very seriously here at GVSU and want to ensure that every item is accounted for and goes to the correct place. Typically, custodians use their trash cart/bin to store both recycling, compost and trash waste using 3 separate liners, clear for recycling, black for landfill waste and green for compost. It might look like the recycling is going into the same container, but separating these 3 forms of trash is important to us. On occasion, food or other non-recyclable items may end up in the recycling containers. This contaminates the whole bin, forcing us to sort out and appropriate the right trash in the correct bin. Custodians also receive training about recycling at GVSU and are well-equipped to answer questions about this process.

No! We comingle all our recycling so the container at the office desk is for all recycle materials – paper, plastic, glass, etc.  Just don’t contaminate it with food (garbage) and non-recyclable materials.

Ink cartridges are recycled on campus. If you leave several in a box or something by the mailboxes, the mail room staff will take them when they make their mail rounds and drop them off at the bookstore who in turn recycles them.  If they are a larger toner-style copier cartridges and needs to be mailed back to the manufacturer, the department needs to package it up with return postage on it, leave it for the mailroom to pick up. 

Student Information Center in Devos, Pew Campus, takes larger toner cartridges and smaller printer cartridges and sends them into a company for credit which turns into money to purchase K-12 teacher scholastic books for classroom libraries.  They need the cartridges sent in the plastic wrap, guards and boxes to keep the toner (ink) from getting all over the place.

Yes! LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system that provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. GVSU currently has 25 LEED certified buildings. The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning & Information Commons has the highest certified status, Platinum, awarded in 2014, with 150,300 square foot.

There are major events where you can donate your items. Housing and Residence typically has a coat drive week. Project donation, GVSU's move-out initiative, uses the resources of the Facilities Management, Grounds Services, Office of Sustainability and Housing and Residence Life to divert unwanted move-out items, many of which are sent to local donation centers or the surplus store. This takes place during finals week in the fall and winter semesters. Boxes are placed inside most of the residence halls.

Several academic programs and courses are listed on our Sustainability page. The Office of Sustainability Practices hope this page will help students to identify sustainability-focused classes that fit into their particular curriculum or in order to increase their overall sustainability knowledge and literacy.

Using the GVSU Sustainability Tour Map you can locate and learn about green features on campus.

Whether you are hosting a department-wide gathering, a small staff meeting, or lunchtime seminar, it is possible for you to significantly minimize waste and conserve natural resources during your next event. You can stop by or call the office to discuss green options for your event. You can also apply for our portable waste stations for your events through our office.

GVSU Sustainability Reinvestment Fund is designed to seed sustainability projects created by students, faculty and staff. The goal of the fund is to support projects that can be replicated across the university, working in support of GVSU's goal of becoming a national leader in sustainable practice. Projects will be screened through an application process and a final report is required. For help during the application process, contact our director Yumiko Jakobcic, jakobciy@gvsu.edu. You can also share your ideas here to help us improve and serve our community better.

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Page last modified March 20, 2019