Sustainability

As a Catholic institution of higher education, Salve Regina has an opportunity and an obligation to promote and reinforce good environmental stewardship by integrating the ethical, social, economic and ecological values of environmentally sustainable development into University policy and practice.

Salve Regina has pledged to conduct its activities in an ecologically sound, socially just and economically viable manner, and will continue to do so for future generations. The University supports the concepts of sustainability in its curriculum, research and related activities, preparing students, faculty and staff to contribute to an environmentally sound and socially just society.

Sustainable Initiatives

Environmental Sustainability Goals

Salve Regina seeks to conduct its activities in an ecologically sound, socially just and economically viable manner. The University strives to function as a sustainable community by embodying responsible consumption; promoting ecological literacy and environmentally sound practices among students, faculty and staff; and supporting these values in the local community.

Goal: Create an environmentally literate and responsible community.

  • Integrate social and environmental responsibility into curricular development.
  • Foster student and faculty research of environmentally sustainable development.
  • Create and promote an informed network of people committed to the principles of environmental sustainability on campus.

Goal: Practice environmental stewardship.

  • Promote water conservation, waste reduction, material reuse and recycle.
  • Encourage awareness of food consumption and strive towards promoting the ecological, sustainable and socially just production of food.
  • Engage in energy conservation by promoting the use of renewable energy resources, purchasing Energy Star appliances and practicing energy conservation behaviors.
  • Practice environmental stewardship of University property.
  • Promote sustainable modes of campus transportation.
  • Promote environmentally responsible building standards.

St. Francis Pledge

Salve Regina has signed on to be an advocate for the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor, a nationwide initiative created by the Catholic Climate Covenant. The pledge is a promise and a commitment to protect God's creation and advocate on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change.

The University will continue to function as a sustainable community, embodying responsible consumption, promoting ecological literacy and environmentally sound practices among its students, faculty, staff and graduates and supporting these values in the local community and beyond.

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Sustainable Curriculum

Salve Regina offers an interdisciplinary major and minor in environmental studies, which exposes students to the broad range of issues that arise from the interaction of humans with the natural world, and to the tools required to understand and solve environmental problems. Students in the program complete coursework in math and science, policy, ethics and society, and preservation, complemented by student-directed research and a thesis in the senior year.

Students who major in biology may concentrate in environmental sciences by completing the additional courses Environmental Chemistry, Conservation Biology, Marine Biology and Ecology and completing additional electives.

Alternative Transportation

RIPTA's natural gas-powered vehicles provide all students with valid Salve Regina ID unlimited ridership on campus and throughout the state.

In addition, more than 130 bicycles are available for Salve Regina students to loan on a semester basis. The program promotes healthy behaviors and healthy choices while providing opportunities for convenient transportation. All areas of campus and many local businesses are within biking distance.

By restricting the number of vehicles permitted on campus, discouraging students from intra-campus driving and exacting fines on violators, Salve Regina's transportation policies strive to reduce the number of vehicles on campus and in the city of Newport.

Hydroponic Garden

In 2011, two biology students, with help from a donor, established a fully operational hydroponic "grow house" in the lower level of Hunt Hall. Since then, students have grown spinach, basil, lettuce, chard, kale, microgreens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and parsley.

Proving the commercial viability of hydroponic farming is a primary focus of the research. An outreach program has been implemented in offsite locations throughout Rhode Island to enhance the growth and expansion of this important endeavor, which was recognized in the National Catholic Reporter.

Clean Ocean Access Water Testing

Clean Ocean Access is a local environmental group concerned with safety, cleanliness and open access to the ocean and coastlines on Aquidneck Island. Since 2006, Clean Ocean Access has tested the water quality at popular swimming locations not considered "designated swimming areas." The program's long-term goal is to establish baseline water quality standards in order to ensure permanent clean water along the Aquidneck Island shoreline.

Salve Regina students participate in Clean Ocean Access water testing throughout the academic year, and have expanded this sampling to the freshwater rivers that flow into the ocean.

Watershed Monitoring

In 2011, a group of students in the Environmental Quality course designed a sampling protocol for monitoring the quality of the local freshwater that provides Aquidneck Island residents with their drinking water. The protocols that they designed continue to be carried out by citizen scientists in the field.

Salve Regina students conduct the lab analysis and routinely monitor nutrient inputs and E. coli levels and examine the biological communities that live in these streams.

Sodexo Dining Services

Sodexo donates surplus food to local community members per legal waiver and agreement. Such food is designated, but not limited to, disadvantaged persons, the elderly and the homeless.

Bleach-free, fully compostable brown napkins eliminate the bleaching process and the use of chlorine, while napkin holders reduce napkin usage by 20 percent. Condiments and coffee creamers are served in bulk containers, and the implementation of tray-less dining in the Miley cafeteria reduced water, energy and food waste.

Seasonal produce is purchased from Rhode Island farms, and the Miley cafeteria also has its own garden, which produces vegetables and herbs. All milk served throughout campus is purchased from Rhody Fresh, and used cooking oil is donated to Newport Biodiesel for conversion into fuel.

Sodexo has partnered with the Compost Plant, which picks up the University's food scraps and compostable items to turn them into compost. They have also partnered with Red's Best to serve fresh, sustainable fish caught daily in New England waters.

Fair trade coffee is served throughout campus, while catered events use environmentally friendly Earth Plus products and 100 percent compostable Greenware disposable cups. Holiday dinners served in the Miley cafeteria contain many menu items from local and sustainable sources.

Water Conservation and Waste Reduction

Water filtration dispensers are located throughout campus, effectively reducing the waste of hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles.

Showerheads and toilets have been converted to low-flow units and energy efficient washers and dryers have been installed. Reynolds Field uses a well to pump groundwater for irrigation, eliminating $10,000 per year of potable water use. An additional irrigation system using recycled groundwater is in place at the Rodgers Recreation Center.

Housekeepers utilize a microfiber mopping system that uses less water and reduces the number of laundry loads necessary to clean products. Concentrated cleaning products have been replaced with Green Seal certified cleaning products and the Phazer applicator system, which reduces product waste.

Green Room Program

The Green Room program encourages students to reduce their carbon footprint by pledging to recycle aluminum, paper, glass and cardboard, conserve water by taking shorter showers and conserve electricity by unplugging items when not in use.

Environmental Club

Established in 2008, the Environmental Club plans Earth Day activities and organizes environmental awareness programs. The club has sponsored marine mammal stranding workshops with the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, and some club members have been trained as first responders for stranded sea turtles, seals and whales.

On campus, the Environmental Club has organized initiatives to increase recycling, first in residence halls and on-campus apartments and more recently in the O'Hare Academic Center. In addition, the club is routinely involved in stewardship activities such as beach cleanups and fundraisers for other nonprofit environmental groups.

GreenSalve

GreenSalve advocates for sustainable practices on campus and in the local community, provides environmental sustainability education and collaborates with other groups on campus to create and support initiatives that reduce the University's environmental impact.

Its “Green Office" program encourages faculty and staff to reduce their carbon footprint by pledging to do the following:

  • Shut off computers and monitors at night and use standby modes by day
  • Turn off lights not in use and keep windows and doors closed tightly to conserve energy
  • Print on both sides of the page and reuse paper with one-sided print
  • Use projectors at meetings
  • Select environmentally friendly printing options
  • Drink from reusable cups, mugs and water bottles and pack lunches in reusable containers
  • Fill reusable bottles with filtered or tap water instead of buying bottled water
  • Report leaky faucets and toilets to facilities
  • Review University recycling guidelines

Battery Recycling

Battery collection bins are located outside Design Services in the McKillop Library garden level. Donors are asked to pay special attention to the recycling details posted above the bin. Of special note:

  • Please do not put corroded or leaking batteries in the recycling bin.
  • Be sure to tape all batteries as they otherwise create a fire hazard.