This spring, Holy Cross will be using caps and gowns made from recycled materials! Holy Cross is partnering with Oak Hall to offer GreenWeaverⓇ caps and gowns for all graduates this May 2022. This regalia is made out of fabric that has been spun from molten plastic pellets from recycled water bottles. In comparison to the traditional polyester regalia, production of this material reduces CO2 gas emissions by 54.6% and petroleum usage by over 52%. As of this year, over 9 million plastic water bottles will be removed from landfills as a result of over 400,000 students wearing GreenWeaver regalia at graduation.
Students are very appreciative of the opportunity to take part in a sustainable effort as their time at Holy Cross comes to an end. Senior Milly O’Brian ‘22 commented, “I think it’s really important to take steps like these towards environmental change in hopes that each individual effort will make a huge impact toward a healthier and more sustainable future. Let this be an example for future generations on how simple it is to make small lifestyle changes that better our planet!” Hopefully this simple change of clothing will reinforce the idea that we can be sustainable with better decision making, and vast lifestyle changes are not always necessary.
The College will be collecting the caps and gowns after the ceremony for students who do not choose to keep theirs, and will return them to Oak Hill. While GreenWeaver caps and gowns are a large stride for sustainability at Holy Cross, students can support a green commencement in other ways as well. Students can bring reusable water bottles to stay hydrated throughout the ceremony, carpool to the venue, and use this milestone to kickstart a more sustainable lifestyle post graduation!
The Pothos Project is a five week program that allows students the opportunity to have real-world consulting experience. Students collaborate together to improve the sustainability of a business. For every week of the program, students will participate in meetings with both alumni mentors in the consulting field and local businesses in Worcester to receive guidance on possible solutions to their business’s concern. At the end of the program, students present their sustainable recommendation to representatives of that business.
As a student consultant, I have gained valuable knowledge and insight into the consulting field. First, I learned that sustainability can be applicable to different target areas of a business. For instance, while my team’s main focus is community engagement for our business partner, we are also working on reducing paper usage for ticket printings. Secondly, I have learned how to professionally connect with stakeholders and foster communication on what they wish to gain from the consultation. The meetings with our alumni mentor were highly beneficial to establishing a good relationship with our business partner as he gave us tips on how to converse with the stakeholder.
Even with the proposed initiatives implemented, the community determines whether the practices remain in place. If the business does not receive better profit margins, they might revert back to their old methods. Therefore, students can support sustainable businesses in Worcester by purchasing from these local stores rather than big brand names. Students can also spread the message about these sustainable businesses in the area to their friends and family. In the case of my business partner, choosing the sustainable option, mobile tickets, would show the business that sustainability is a concern that is important to their customers.
The Roomside Recycling project aims to educate students on campus about recycling and the importance of proper waste sorting in a fun way. Residential students get the chance to learn about recycling by playing a category game. The goal of the game is for participants to place certain items (e.g. greasy pizza boxes or shoes) in the correct four categories – donate, compost, recycle and trash. Student facilitators assist participants as needed so that participants may increase their knowledge on recycling and waste sorting.
Being a facilitator of the Roomside Recycling project has been a fun experience. I get the chance to meet many students and educate them at the same time. Being a facilitator has also helped me improve my knowledge on recycling. I learned to tell the difference between what can be composted and what can be recycled. In addition, I learned the reason behind why some things cannot be recycled or composted (e.g. being too dirty or too small) and therefore need to get put into the trash stream.
The College has two clear goals – be carbon neutral by 2040 and support the Society of Jesuits’ fourth Universal Apostolic Preference, Caring for Our Common Home. Achieving these goals requires the involvement of everyone, especially students, and includes active participation in the campus recycling efforts. Holy Cross students can better participate in recycling on campus in a couple of ways. First, students can try the Roomside Recycling category game so they can increase their knowledge about single-stream recycling and proper waste sorting. Another way students can better participate in recycling on campus is to mindfully use the recycling bins located across campus as much as possible and in the right way. As a student community, we have the ability to make positive strides toward the College’s two environmental goals through our participation in recycling.
The Holy Cross community can now donate and recycle books to The Bay State Book Company via an on-campus collection bin behind Alumni Hall.
What do your old books support? The Bay State Book Company aims to “keep as many books out of landfills as possible.” They donate books to local schools, community centers, and soldiers. For any remaining books, the organization recycles them responsibly.
A study by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) discovered that the United States sends over 640,000 tons of books to landfills every year. By having this collection bin on campus, the Holy Cross community can give their books a new life and redistribute resources instead of creating more trash.
Participation is easy. Simply bring your books to the designated bin 24/7.
The Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) invites you to the 7th Biennial Student Leadership Conference: Humanitarian Action and Climate Change.
The conference brings together students from across the Jesuit network of colleges and universities to learn about how we, as a Jesuit community, can best respond to the humanitarian crises of the world. This year’s conference will address climate change as a seminal issue of our time and how it intersects with the field of humanitarian action. Students who attend the conference will learn how to plan initiatives on their home campuses using Laudato Si’ and the forthcoming 7-Year Plan as a framework for action.
The virtual conference will take place on: Thursday, September 30th (5-8pm) Friday, October 1st (5-8pm) Saturday, October 2nd (9am-11:15am). Holy Cross participants will join these sessions virtually. Holy Cross participants will then gather on Monday, October 4th from 6:30-8pm to plan action steps for our campus (this may be in-person or virtual).
1. Grab a compostable bag located near the freezer.
2. Collect food waste in your room (Pro Tip: If you have a mini fridge or freezer, store this waste there to avoid unfortunate smells).
3. Bring and drop your bag in the collection freezer at your convenience.
What to compost:
Please keep anything containing large amounts of oil, fat, or grease out of the compost.
Our student environmental involvement opportunities are expanding. Whether it’s implementing a project with the Holy Cross Green Fund, becoming a Roomside Recycling Facilitator, or consulting with community partners through the Pothos Project, consider joining this fun and inspiring community. Explore a few options below:
Pothos Corporate Responsibility Consulting Project
Through the Pothos Project, students, with the support of alumni mentors, help Holy Cross and our local business community become more sustainable on their way to prosperity and good fortune via real-world consulting engagements. Learn more
Green Living Certification
The Green Living Certification recognizes students for their positive environmental choices. Certification is simple. Complete at least one action item in each of the six categories on the MyHC checklist and submit the form. Get certified
Instead of a community of wishful recyclers, we’re shifting to a community of confident recycling gurus! Roomside Recycling Facilitators go door to door in residential halls with a partner to facilitate a quick waste sorting game with residents. Through this process, student facilitators educate their peers on proper waste sorting. Become a facilitator
Green Influencer Program
Holy Cross’ Green Influencer Program brings awareness to environmental issues and promotes approachable sustainable practices by having a small group of HC micro-influencers share content on their personal Instagram profiles. Sign up now
Menus of Change is a set of principles that integrates nutrition and environmental science to develop recommendations that help food service and culinary professionals achieve optimal nutrition, environmental stewardship and resilience, and social responsibility within the food service industry. The vision is to guide food and food service professionals, like Holy Cross’ Dining Services, in creating meals that are not only delicious, but also nutritious and healthy, environmentally sustainable as well as socially responsible and ethical.
In June, the culinary team in Dining Services worked with Leslie Cerier, “The Organic Gourmet”, to develop new plant-based recipes for the upcoming semester. This four-day workshop, full of discussions and cooking demonstrations, explored sea vegetables, teff, and tempeh. Recipes included everything from miso based sauces and teff based croutons.
Do you have something that interests you? That drives you? That inspires you? Do you know where to turn for support to engage with your ideas? Or, do you wonder how to filter through the multiple Holy Cross opportunities to pursue such interests boldly? Have you considered becoming an Ignite Fund Project-Based Learning Fellow?
As an Ignite Fund Project-Based Learning Fellow, I pursued my passion for the environment within the Worcester community through a project at Cookson Field. Initially, my Ignite Fund project began as a component of my College Honors thesis as I knew that I wanted to conduct field research while at Holy Cross. Soon after realizing that I wanted to incorporate fieldwork into my thesis, I began brainstorming locations for this research, and Cookson Field immediately came to mind due to the park’s proximity to campus (it’s a five minute walk away!).
However, I also knew that if I was going to study Cookson Field, I wanted to contribute something back to Cookson as a kind of thank you to the surrounding community and the place itself. Consequently, I developed a plan to remove a broken-down swing set and numerous unusable benches scattered throughout the park and to install a new bench. Additionally, I planned to plant trees and a pollinator garden in the park so that these improvements were aimed at enhancing the park experience for both people, plants, and animals alike. This plan to connect my ecology research with improvements to the park led me to consider the Ignite Fund and the J.D. Power Center for the support I needed to pursue such a project.
The Ignite Fund Project-Based Learning Fellowship is directed at students interested in connecting their academic interests with real-world problem-solving. The process to become an Ignite Fellow is straightforward. First, come up with a rough project idea and schedule a meeting with the director of the J.D. Power Center for a preliminary discussion of the project concept. Then, complete a short online application explaining the project, its connection to your Holy Cross coursework, and the budget (the applications are accepted three times throughout the year, so keep a look out for those dates). If the project receives approval, the only other steps (besides completing the project) include spending the funds within the six months in which they were approved and submitting a final report to the J.D. Power Center.
Through my fellowship experience, I gained invaluable skills in both grant writing, designing a community project, and collaborating with local organizations and agencies (e.g. Worcester Parks Department). I encourage students to think about all the possibilities the Ignite Fund and similar opportunities at Holy Cross hold as they continue to explore their curiosity and passions here on the Hill!
On April 21, 2021, the College of the Holy Cross will host an Alternative Transportation Appreciation Day (ATAD). You may be wondering what is alternative transportation? Why is the office of sustainability spending a day celebrating it? Alternative transportation refers to the different forms of commuting other than single-occupancy vehicles (meaning when one person drives in a gasoline-powered vehicle alone). Some alternative forms include walking, biking, using public transportation, driving an electric vehicle, and carpooling. Student and employee commuting produce 30 percent of Holy Cross’ carbon emissions. The goal for Alternative Transportation Appreciation Day is to bring awareness to options like carpooling incentives, public transit, and carbon footprints in order to encourage the Holy Cross community to try transportation alternatives to single-occupancy driving. By doing so, the office of sustainability hopes to reduce the College’s carbon emissions produced through commuting.
To support alternative transportation commuters, the College maintains a number of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations, exclusive hybrid vehicle parking spaces, and bike racks. Four dual-dual port EV charging stations are located on the third and fourth floors of Holy Cross’s parking garage. Highly desirable parking spots, exclusively for hybrid vehicles, are spread throughout campus parking lots, everywhere from Hogan Campus Center to Figge Hall. Uncovered bike racks are situated on the corner of Linden Lane and Kimball road, between the Science complex and Dinand library, as well as on each side of the Hart Center. Try to keep these locations in mind as they will be useful for ATAD activities.
As mentioned earlier, ATAD will take place on April 21, 2021 and encourages people to enjoy the outdoors while staying socially-distanced. Participants will find green posters with QR codes in various locations on campus (see the map). The QR codes direct students and employees to infographics about public transit, to a site where they can calculate their carbon footprint, and to the app store where they can download the Baystate commute app. Happy ATAD!