Colleges & Universities

Latest News Stories

NEW: Numerous Schools Offer Students the Opportunity to Live in a Community Committed to Living More Sustainably


LoadingThere are currently eight ELCA schools that seek to promote sustainable living in community by designating on-campus houses and residence hall floors as "sustainable". The students living in these houses and dorms make a commitment to improve their daily practices in a way that will reduce their impact on the environment.
Here is the list of links to active houses and residence hall floors that dedicate themselves to living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle:

NEW: Wagner College Offers a Unique City Studies Minor

In this minor, students study how transnational migration, public policy, labor issues, global finance, environmental sustainability, and the arts are handled in major cities. Field trips in New York City and opportunities to travel to other American and foreign cities give students an intimate and hands-on approach to urban issues. To read more about this minor, click here.

NEW: Capital University Practices Sustainable Printing

Capital University is practicing sustainability by reducing their amount of paper waste. That's why they started the Going Green Print & Copy Program.  Capital took a look at how much students were using printers and copiers and decided to allot a $50.00 - or 500 page - print and copy credit to each student per semester. This limit is projected to reduce excessive printing and save Capital over 120,000 printed pages each semester. 

Take a look Capital's printing tips!

Think Before You Print

You can help Capital preserve the environment and save energy with these printing tips.

Learn to review and edit documents online, so you only have to print a final copy.

Use email, CDs, or flash drives to distribute documents when possible.

Print on both sides of the paper.

Reuse before you recycle. Use the back of waste paper as scratch paper.

Recycle waste paper when you're finished.

For more information click here.

NEW: Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois practices sustainability in Dining Services

Augustana College: Rock Island, Illinois is promoting sustainability via their sourcing and disposing of food. The college's "Farm2Fork" Program invests in the health of the broader community and strives to build regional and local food systems. The "Farm2Fork" Program utilizes local and regional foods in food service operations throughout the college.

Augustana is also promoting through their partnership with Wesley Acres, which converts fryer oil into bio-diesel that is used to heat their green houses to extend the growing season and also to run farm equipment. Augustana also composts all pre and post consumer food waste. For more information click here.

Augsburg, Gettysburg, and Luther College Strive to Reduce

Food Waste While Helping the Community

Augsburg College
and Gettysburg College are participants in The Campus Kitchens Project. As part of this project, volunteers from these two colleges use unused food from the campus as well as local grocery stores and farmers markets to make meals that are given to those in need. The Luther College Cafeteria to Community Program is very similar. This student-initiated program packages left-over food from the cafeteria, which is then distributed to a local food pantry. Some of this food is packaged into reusable containers which the recipients bring back to be refilled.


California Lutheran University Projects Stress Water and Cost Reduction

California Lutheran University (CLU) has recently developed two projects that focus on water and cost reduction across campus. With one project CLU is creating new outdoor learning spaces by replacing grass with drought-tolerant native plants. The college's grounds-keepers installed native plants in a teaching garden near a residential area not only to save water, but also to offer choices for homeowners who are ready to remake their yards.
CLU students are also working to promote water conservation through a new student-initiated campaign: "Take CHARge". The goal of this campaign is to get Thousand Oaks residents to save water by using biochar. Biochar is a soil amendment made from charred and shredded plant waste that not only reduces the need for water and fertilizer but also improves plant health.

Augustana Sioux Falls and California Lutheran University Alumni Seek to Promote Sustainability in Their Communities
Last summer, 2014 Augustana graduate Anh Ta created "Vitality," a piece that appeared in an ad campaign designed by Sioux Falls' Public Works Environmental Division.Ta's
artwork was featured on Sioux Area Metro buses for the 
duration of 2014 in an effort to engage and educate the public about sustainability.

California Lutheran University's 2008 graduate, Jenn Radtke has became a water resource educator, or "Clean Water Evangelist",for the Washington Conservation District in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Radtke has worked to get the word out to residents, businesses and elected officials on addressing issues like water pollution and wastefulness. Radtke presents numerous workshops in the community on the benefits and how-to's of rain gardens. She also is active in her agency's Green Congregations program, which works to further rain barrel use at local churches.

Pacific Lutheran University and Texas Lutheran University Work to Better the Environment Through Waste-Related Initiatives

Pacific Lutheran University has partnered with Keep America Beautiful, College and University's Recycling Coalition (CURC), and Goodwill Industries to provide the "Give and Go" program. Here, students are able to easily donate unwanted clothes, food, toiletries and furniture. Last year's efforts collected 104 tons of items! 63% of this was either recycled or recovered! In the fall, Texas Lutheran University's Sustainability Council hosted a recycling and swap shop event on campus. The recycling event allowed student to bring in their old unwanted batteries, phones, eye glasses, and other hard-to-recycle items for recycling. The swap shop allowed students to bring in any unwanted clothes, non-perishable foods, home decor, and other items to be donated. Students could also take home anything they found appealing at the swap event.

Lenoir-Rhyne and Valparaiso Address Environmental Responsibility

Lenoir-Rhyne University recently co-hosted a panel discussion on "Faith-Based Perspectives on Creation Care."  The panel included lay leaders and local clergy who have been at the center of faith-led movements responding to climate change.  Participants offered Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist perspectives on the issue. Valparaiso University's "Environmental Responsibility" website now has a section devoted to "Articles and Studies."  Resources include "Theology and Environmental Ethics," "Biblical Views of Nature," and "Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac and Martin Luther's Freedom of a Christian."

St. Olaf and Concordia College Develop Online Maps to Track Sustainability Initiatives.

St. Olaf's Sustainability Map guides visitors to various sustainability projects and places on campus and in Northfield, Minnesota. Concordia's Dining Service Local Foods Map provides information about the local food ingredients provided by vendors in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. To learn more, click on the links above.

Newberry College Adopts Green Cleaning Products

Newberry College is implementing a new cleaning system that will eliminate many of its day-to-day cleaning chemicals and replace them with a system that will allow the College to generate green cleaning products right on campus that are safer to use and easier on the environment. Read More

Muhlenberg's "Just Tap It" Initiative Decreases Bottled-Water Purchases 92%


“Just Tap It” is an initiative to reduce the amount of bottled water consumed on campus developed by students with the assistance of the Muhlenberg College Greening Committee. As a result, water bottle purchases on campus dropped by 92%.  Read More

Thiel College's James Pedas Communication Center Earns LEED Silver Certification.

New James Pedas Communication Center earns prestigious LEED green building certification"This building project represents a milestone in the development of the Thiel College campus," said President Dr. Troy D. VanAken. "It visibly demonstrates the college's commitment to sustainable building practices and energy efficiency. For Thiel College to achieve silver in its first attempt at LEED certification testifies to the hard work and cooperation of many on campus along with our planners, architects, and construction firms. I recognize and appreciate the contributions of each those constituents. The Pedas Center is a symbol of our ability to not only educate and prepare the kind of students our world requires but to design and build the kinds of sustainable structures that our campus, community, and world require." Read More

With Help from Luther College, God’s Land is in Good Hands at Washington Prairie

Members of Washington Prairie Lutheran Church have always appreciated the pastoral setting near Decorah where the stone church building has stood since 1872. Recently, the congregation participated in a “Greening Churches Internship” project sponsored by Luther College to help congregations learn how they can be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Members then learned that a portion of the Washington Prairie land is a rare oak savanna—a borderline area where eastern woodlands meet western tall grass prairie. The congregation committed to preserving that piece of history and turning a bare pasture into an orchard for the future.  Read More

Sustainable Projects on Muhlenberg College Rooftops

The rooftops at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA are full of fish and green vegetation! Tilapia are bred sustainably in a rooftop greenhouse on the science building, and the student union has an energy-saving green roof.  Read More

Library Recycling Project

When Thomas Library at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio undertook an enormous weeding project of some of its print journal holdings, Director Doug Lehman and Serials Administrative Assistant Lori Judy confronted a problem. If they were to discard all those periodicals that were now available through online sources, they needed to find something to do with the paper -- tons of paper -- which would be headed out the door. The complication is that these periodicals were bound, and most paper recyclers can’t handle those materials. 
Read More



Jim Martin-Schramm, Colleges and Universities Page Co-Editor

Greetings! My name is Jim Martin-Schramm. I serve the ELCA as a Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. I have the honor of serving as the host for the “Colleges and Universities” section of the Lutherans Restoring Creation website. The purpose of this section is to share information about “care for creation” activities and sustainability initiatives that are taking place on our campuses.
Over time this site will offer access to a wide variety of resources and reports that have been developed at our schools. This can only happen with your participation, however. Please send me hotlinks to related campus websites, related worship resources, reports on campus sustainability projects, climate action plans, and other related news and resources for posting on the website. Please also send me suggestions for blog discussions. Electronic document transfer is preferred. Please send electronic media materials to . Please send printed materials to Jim Martin-Schramm, Professor of Religion, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA, 52101. You can also reach me by phone at 563-387-2131.

I look forward to the fruits of our collaboration and sharing!
Best wishes,
Jim Martin-Schramm

Read a sermon by James Martin-Schramm:

Kristina Johnson, Colleges and Universities Page Student Editor

I am currently a student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. As I have grown in both my faith and my passion for the environment, I have continually found ways in which the two intertwine. I find that there are many ways in which God is calling us to be stewards for the beautiful earth which he has created. I believe that creation care is not just something that we as Christians should do, it is something that we are called to do. This is why I am currently pursuing a double major in Environmental Studies and Religion. I want to find a way to promote the development of sustainable practices, influenced and founded by faith. Read More

Connie Barclay, Colleges and Universities Page Co-Editor

My name is Connie Barclay, member of First Lutheran in Decorah, IA. Currently I serve as the chair of our Green Team/Property Committee. My awareness of the need to nurture our precious earth is a confluence of events and opportunities over the last decades. I am employed at Luther College, which is highly committed to green practices and takes pains to inform and educate its community of the need to reduce our carbon footprint. Working with two passionate educators, Professors Jim Martin-Schramm and Ruth Kath, I have been involved in the planning of several greening conferences and events. I also serve as co-editor of the colleges and universities page of Lutherans Restoring Creation. Read More

Upcoming Events

NEW: The AASHE Annual Conference and Expo: Transforming Sustainability Education

October 25th-27th

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) annual Conference and Expo brings together emerging and advanced sustainability professionals, senior leaders (e.g. presidents, chancellors, provosts, and deans) students, faculty, staff, business, and media for a four day conference that celebrates and inspires campus sustainability innovations.

With over 2,000 attendees excepted, the conference will delivery workshops, case studies, panel discussions, and keynote addresses to support the advancement of sustainability in higher education.

Through this four day conference, you can expect to walk away empowered to lead the global sustainability movement with new tools and tactics to take back to your institution. You'll be prepared to change the face of sustainability on your campus and surrounding community.

For more information and to register, click here.

NEW: The 80th Annual Association of Lutheran College Faculties Conference

September 25-26, 2015
Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Washington

How does being a good steward of the planet inform faculty teaching, scholarship and service?

Come to the 2015 ALCF conference to share dialogue and learn from others about what stewardship means to them. We invite scholars to speak on this important subject at the intersections of what it means to care for the Earth in a global society and what Lutheran Higher Education has to say about it.

Come to the Pacific Northwest: a beautiful destination of snow-capped mountains, the Puget Sound and fun attractions in Seattle and Tacoma. Come to PLU: a sister institution that is celebrating its 125th year of caring "for other people, for their communities and for the Earth!"

For more information and to register, click here.

More News Stories:

International Conservation Journal highlights St. Olaf researchers
Organic Farmer speaks at Augustana-Rock Island
Wittenberg students participate in People's Climate March
No-touch fountains at Augustana-Sioux Falls
Minding the Hive at California Lutheran

Click here for an archive of past news stories.

What are ELCA Colleges and Universities doing to save energy?
How are ELCA Colleges and Universities engaging students, faculty, staff and their communities?

Campus Pastors at ELCA Colleges and Universities:

College Contacts:

Contact people at ELCA colleges who are involved in sustainability.

Additional Information:

Contribute a report about what your college is doing about creation care.
Find additional resources for colleges and universities
Position announcements

What You Can Do

NEW: Sustainability Tip: Carthage College

Want to know ways that you can be environmentally friendly in the office? Carthage College has provided a list of tips for a greener life at home or work.

 Some of these include:

1. Cancel junk mail

2. Repair broken items or donate them to someone who can

3. Use glass or ceramic mugs instead of disposable cups for drinks

4.Use both sides of a sheet of paper.

5.Think before you print: Is this document ready to be printed? Does it need to be printed?

Wartburg College Offers A New Twist to the Common 3R's of Sustainable Living

The majority of people have probably heard of the 3R's of Sustainable Living:  Reduce, reuse, recycle. Wartburg College has added two extra categories to their list: Refuse and repair.

"You have probably heard of the 3 R’s of waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle) but there are actually 5 R’s at Wartburg College. They should be considered in this order too.

  1. Refuse – if you don’t need it don’t take/get it

  2. Reduce – only take what you really need, you can almost always get more

  3. Repair – just because it may be inexpensive to get it new, repair will keep it out of the landfill

  4. Reuse – if you are done with it, maybe someone else can use it

  5. Recycle – if there are no other options, recycle, keep it out of the landfill"

Wartburg Sustainability strives to promote these five R's through sustainable practices around campus.

To read more about Wartburg's sustainability efforts, click here.

Arrange a meeting between the administration of the university and the physical plant offices in order to brainstorm ideas for greening administrative buildings on your campus! Click here for more details.

Archive of past suggestions...