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Living Out the BenU Value of Stewardship


By Therese Porod

An active role of living out the Benedictine Value of Stewardship is giving way to a
vision and hope for a successful future.

There is a new component of mission identity, emphasizing the aspects of stewardship
and sustainability here at BenU, according to Dr. Timothy Marin, Department Chair of
Chemistry/Biochemistry and member of the Stewardship and Sustainability Implementation
Area.

Other members who are on the committee include members Dr. Jean-Marie Kauth, Jay
Stuart, Jennifer Erickson, Karly Tumminello, Greg Munie, and Student Senate Representative
Harjot Sangha.

The goal is to increase communication amongst different groups on campus, such as food
services and campus services, to work together and report to the administration about service
projects. This would then help in applying for grant money to help fund these service projects.

According to Marin, the committee wants to partner with St. Procopius Abbey, to help
with their orchard, farm, and vineyard. The Abbey has been making wine from their vineyard, run by Greg Munie, for over 100 years and hopes to get more students involved.

Over a span of three years, Kauth has worked to build up awareness of environmental
issues, such as building awareness for students, hosting the Faith & Reason Symposium, doing
campus environmental service projects, starting the Ben Bike program, establishing a community
garden, and restoring the grounds on campus around the slough, according to Marin.

According to Marin, there is a big push for restoration of the grounds, both at the Abbey
and around the slough. This would include weeding, restoring healthy woodland, restoring
remnants of prairie plant, in hopes of increasing the bird population, and bringing back a variety
of wild life, explained Marin.

Before Fr. Theodore Suchy passed away, Marin said it was the goal of the nature
museum that the “entire campus becomes a living museum.” In cleaning up the slough, Marin
said they hope to take students who are in classes, such as ecology or botany, on the path to learn
about different plants and animals in their natural environment.

This whole process could take a few years, explained Marin. There is a hope for more
student involvement in the matter, as well as partnerships with conservation organizations, which
can help with possible student internships.

“In the long, long run, we hope to expand these efforts to the Springfield and Arizona
campuses,” said Marin.

According to Marin, here are some environmental changes done by food services and
campus services:

1.
Electric car charging stations and filtration ponds for rainwater runoff in
parking garage.

2. Trayless dining in Krasa.

3. Food scraps program (composting of food waste) with Food Services.

4. Commitment of Food Services to minimizing disposable utensils and plates.

5. Lighting retro-fit in academic buildings from T-12 ballasts to T-8 ballasts and
re-lamping of bulbs to decrease electricity usage.

6. 
Replacement of 250 metal halide inefficient bulbs in the arena floor of Rice
Center utilizing ComEd rebate program.

7.
 Through grant funds, obtained a corrugated cardboard baler for cardboard
recycling.

8. 
Demand Response Program with EnerNoc (for curtailment events of
shedding electrical load – getting rebates during high electricity usage times for the
conservation efforts).

9. Began recycling comingled material.

10. Continued campus Beautification Days, focusing on planting trees, shrubs, and
perennials.

11. Sustainable backpack vacuums for housekeeping.

12. Introduction of plant derivative, eco-friendly chemicals and more efficient
microfiber towels for housekeeping.

13. Use of recycled material for trash bags and toilet paper.

14. Reduction of cooking oil used by Food Services and conversion of waste oil into
biodiesel.