Campus Initiatives

Current Initiatives

Climate Action Plan

An initiative to develop a Climate Action Plan for LVC began in earnest in fall 2017, in response to President Thayne signing the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment on behalf of Lebanon Valley College. A Climate Action Plan (CAP) subcommittee of the ESAC was formed and charged with developing the plan. After a year of work, the CAP Committee has developed a final draft of the plan, which has been endorsed by the faculty and student government. The plan now awaits approval by senior administrators and the LVC Board of Trustees.


Dining Services

Eating well and living well go hand-in-hand. That’s why Metz pledges to do our part to be good stewards of the earth’s natural resources. Our sustainable efforts meet our customers’ needs today while protecting our environment for future generations. We are committed to working closely with our partners at LVC and our vendors in executing environmentally responsible initiatives and programs.


Food Waste Partnership | Weigh the Waste

The Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) partners with Metz to collect data on food waste in the college dining hall. From this data, the committee creates meaningful and accessible statistics to inform students of how much food and money is wasted each semester. The goal of these studies is not only to inform students of how much is being food is being wasted, but also to encourage more sustainable eating habits.


Native Plant Garden

Landscaped plants provide distinct ecological and economic benefits on campus. Since native plant species are better adapted to local conditions than their nonnative counterparts, they reduce soil erosion, require less fertilizer and pesticide use, and once established, are often more cost-effective and require less maintenance. This sustainability initiative seeks to create and maintain a campus native plant garden not only to enrich the campus aesthetic appeal, but also to serve as a living laboratory for student research regarding the benefits of native plants, and to promote educational opportunities within the classroom and greater college community. At the end of the spring 2019 semester, a variety of native perennials, shrubs, and trees were added to help maintain the garden.


Sustainability House

The Sustainability House is an on-campus special interest housing opportunity that gives students the chance to live in a community where they may learn about how to live in a sustainable way. They will be asked to adopt various practices while living in the house, such as reducing energy and water use, and recycling. The students will also host programs and develop initiatives aimed to educate other students, faculty, and community members. Current project proposals include hydroponics, native plant gardens, and monitoring of the house’s water and electricity usage.


Yard Sale/Clothing Exchange (Upcycling)

The community-wide yard sale and the clothing swap is a way for students to practice re-using clothing and other items. This gives students the opportunity to sell and donate their clothing and other items on campus and see what other students have to offer. This cuts down on consumption costs (fiscal and physical) which helps to better the environment.

Prior Initiatives

E.A.T. Initiative

E.A.T. (Engage, Analyze, Transform) is a student-centered research group sponsored by the President’s Innovation Fund.  The interdisciplinary research undertaken by E.A.T. has two goals:  to improve the dining experience for students and to dissolve the boundaries between the dining and academic spaces on campus.  Specifically, E.A.T. will use data-driven research to assess and promote the goals of ethical reasoning, understanding of diversity, and environmental stewardship.

Thus, sustainability is one of our core objectives and is central to two of our current projects:

  1. The most comprehensive project thus far, “Experience More, Waste Less” (now called “Weigh the Waste”) began in fall semester 2013 as the E.A.T. Research Group project designed and implemented by Ashley Smith ’15. On 8 separate occasions during a given semester (usually a Wednesday night), student groups volunteer to intercept students’ plates before they are sent to the dish room. Students separate edible from inedible waste and then weigh the separated items at the end of the night. Currently, there are 12 continuous semesters of data on food wasted in the dining hall.
  2. There have been two studies conducted to gauge the ways that students react to messaging that encourages them to be mindful of their food waste. Both studies demonstrate that students do notice signage and that the signs have some effect on their behavior. MCURC Food Waste Messaging Seed Study was conducted in spring 2018. LVC collaborated with four other universities (USC, UCSB, UC Davis and Stanford) to measure the impact of Food Waste messaging. Various messages were placed around the dining hall at the beginning of a week; later that week, students were surveyed to see if the signs were noticed.