Sustainability at GSC

We seem to hear the word “sustainability” every day, but what does it mean? According to the EPA, sustainability is “based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

How is GSC working to create a sustainable campus? Continue reading to see what Dr. Milan C. Vavrek, Professor of Natural Resource Management in the Land Resources Department has to say about the GSC’s sustainability efforts.

Occupancy Lighting Control

Occupancy sensors have been installed throughout the Waco Center. Those sensors automatically turn lights on when a person enters the room and then turns the lights off when no one is present. Energy savings from occupancy sensors depend upon room size and activity, but are estimated to be 35-45% (source: California Energy Commission).

Efficient Hand Dryers

Hand dryers replace paper towel dispensers in the Waco Center restrooms. During their complete life-cycle, efficient air hand dryers require less materials, manufacturing, and transportation than paper towels (source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Pre-Fabricated Concrete Wall Panels

The pre-fabricated panels used to sheath the exterior of the Waco Center consist of two precast concrete slabs separated by a layer of thermal insulation. The energy performance of the material, high thermal mass, reduction in moisture penetration and construction waste, and construction efficiency contribute to reduced environmental impacts.

Heating and Cooling Efficiency

The dual-fuel heating and air conditioning units at the Waco Center provide maximum energy efficiency. Fuel use changes as a function of outdoor temperatures, reducing energy use. Additionally, the system allows for the utilization of natural gas produced by college wells.

Waste-Reducing Cafeteria

In 2008 Glenville State made national news by being one of the first colleges in the country to eliminate trays from its cafeteria. Aramark, the company that operates Mollohan’s Restaurant at GSC, says that when trays are not used people waste 25-30% less food. This also lessens caloric intake and contributes to slimmer waistlines. More important from a sustainability standpoint, college dining halls consume more water and energy than any place on campus, so the trayless cafeteria conserves both water and the energy needed to heat it. An added bonus is the reduced amount of detergents going down the drain.

Fuel Saving Maintenance Vehicles

Great fuel economy and ease of maintenance are qualities of the campus maintenance workers’ fleet of mini pickups made by the Japanese automaker Daihatsu. These sturdy little vehicles can get over 40 miles per gallon and have one of the lowest carbon dioxide emission ratings of any small pickup. Best of all, the Daihatsu trucks last; and that dependability means keeping vehicles on the road and out of the landfill. According to Physical Plant employees, the mini trucks rarely require any more maintenance than an oil change.


Glenville State College promotes recycling and awareness of recycling through a number of avenues. Pioneer Blue recycling bins, provided by a grant from Keep America Beautiful, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and The College and University Recycling Coalition, are located throughout campus. Currently, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and office paper are accepted. In addition, we present educational videos on the college television station to educate students, staff, faculty, and the public on the importance of recycling. For America Recycles Day (November 15), an art class created sculptures using items from existing material. These sculptures were on display at the Alan B. Mollohan Campus Community Center throughout November and December.

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