Groups and Organizations:

Various Lafayette groups and organizations are working to address environmental issues on campus and beyond. Some of those groups are listed below.

Sustainability Committee

The Sustainability Committee–composed of four faculty members, four students, and three administrators–meets regularly throughout the academic year. The committee serves to advise the College’s cabinet and to assist in the prioritization of potential green initiatives on campus.

If you have ideas on how Lafayette could become more sustainable, the committee wants to know about them! Download the project idea form and learn more from the Sustainability Committee’s website.

Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP)

President: Christopher Kelly ’13 (
LEAP is a student-run club that promotes environmental responsibility on and off campus. Its committees include Events, Composting, Carbon, Recycling, Gardening, and Community. LEAP activities include environmental advocacy, peer and community education on environmental issues, promoting renewable energy use and carbon footprint reduction, volunteering for environmental causes, and nature appreciation through outdoor activities. In April, LEAP coordinates Earth Week events for the college.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB)

EWB members work with Honduran villagers to install a clean water system in May 2010.

President: Alec Bernstein ’11 (
EWB’s mission: We are a multidisciplinary group of Lafayette students dedicated to meeting the basic health needs of developing communities in the world by applying sustainable and practical engineering solutions. Since the spring of 2003, we have committed ourselves to establishing long-term relationships with communities, associations, and organizations in the Yoro District of Honduras.

Our current projects involve collaborating with community partners on the design and implementation of potable water and sanitation systems in the rural communities surrounding the town of La Habana.

Visit the EWB website.

Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (SEES)

President: Emily Clark ’12 (
The Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (SEES) is an organization with a three main goals. First, SEES provides a learning experience for interested students in the related fields of environmental science and engineering. Second, SEES conducts research to help solve current environmental science and engineering problems. Third, SEES seeks to promote environmental sustainability.

Visit the SEES website.

TREEhouse Floor

President: Gregory Miller ’13 (
The TREEHouse special interest living group is located on the third and fourth floors of Keefe Hall. The purpose of the living group is to establish a low-impact, environmentally-conscious culture. We are a paradigm of recycling, efficiency, and conservation – employing human ingenuity, innovativeness and resourcefulness to establish a virtually waste-less and environmentally friendly community. The members of the group help to develop a campus-wide consciousness about preservation of the environment and the group serves as a pilot for new campus-wide environmental and energy policy.

Visit the TREEhouse website.

Sustainability Efforts:

Lafayette’s commitment to increased sustainability is reflected in numerous campus projects and plans, on which students, faculty, staff and often, community members, have worked together. Some of these are listed below. A more comprehensive list of the college’s completed sustainability projects can be found here.

Campus Master Plan

The Lafayette campus master plan, completed in 2009, contains proposals for future campus changes.  Two of the master plan principles include defining open spaces and connections and enhancing pedestrian paths. Furthermore, the plan’s design guidelines encourage campus sustainability. Limiting development on steep slopes and woodland habitat, supporting greenway trails, protecting the Bushkill Creek and Delaware River waterways, planting native species on the campus grounds, increased water conservation and rainwater collection, renewable energy use and energy efficiency, and LEED certification consideration for new buildings and renovations are mentioned in the plan. Check out the campus master plan here.

Campus Energy Policy

The energy policy states “Lafayette College is committed to a policy of energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the reduction of our environmental impact.” Some of the specific measures outlined in the policy include minimizing energy use in new buildings and renovations, the consideration of co-generation and energy recovery as well as renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydro, upgrading to high efficiency lighting, increased use of day lighting, and minimized use of water for irrigation. Check out the campus energy policy here.

Climate Commitment

In January 2008, President Daniel H. Weiss signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. When President Weiss signed the commitment, Lafayette agreed to:

  • Complete an emissions inventory.
  • Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
  • Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
  • Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.
  • Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

Read the full text of the climate commitment here.

Sustainable Food Loop

Students in LEAP and SEES are striving toward a sustainable food loop at Lafayette. When in place, the food loop will link the organic community garden and the composting program with the campus dining facilities. The dining halls will serve organic vegetables grown in the garden, the dining hall waste will be composted, and the garden will utilize the finished compost.

The organic community garden at Metzgar Fields was born in spring 2009. Learn more about the garden here. The composting program now has two Earth Tubs to process food waste from the dining halls, and the finished compost is used by the grounds department for campus landscaping. Read more about composting on the SEES website here and on the Facilities Planning website here.

Solar Arrays

The college has two solar arrays, one on the roof of Acopian Engineering Center and one at Metzgar Fields. The Acopian array is used as a teaching tool for the Electrical Engineering department; the Metzgar array was constructed after the college received a $15,000 grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund in 2009.

Green Roof

Green roofs prolong the life of the roof system, slow the rate of storm water runoff, remove impurities in storm water runoff, reduce the heat island effect (localized raised temperatures), and insulate the space below the roof. Students designed a green roof system for Acopian Engineering Center, and the roof was installed in the summer of 2009. Students will be monitoring the effects of the new roof on energy and water conservation and looking for new places on campus for rooftop gardens. Learn more about the Acopian green roof here.

Green Move Out

Elizabeth Ingersoll, daughter of biology professor Elaine Reynolds (far right), Katalin Fabian, government & law professor, and student Tafadzwa Munezvenyu, haul stuff form a residence hall during Green Move Out 2010.

College students leave a lot behind when they leave for summer break. Often, what students don’t take with them is new or barely used. Since spring 2006 in an effort known as Green Move Out, Lafayette has collected students’ unwanted new or gently used items when they move out of college housing. These items, which would have otherwise entered the waste stream and gone to a landfill, have been donated to local charitable organizations. In May 2010, over 55 students, faculty, staff, and community members collected close to 10,000 pounds of donated bedding, clothing, food, books, school supplies, cleaning supplies, and furniture. The donations were given to the organizations Easton Area Neighborhood Center, Center for Animal Health and Welfare, American Family Services, Third Street Alliance, Safe Harbor, Easton Area Community Center, Easton Library, Better World Books, and College Hill Presbyterian Church Furniture Bank.

Water Bottle Project

Beginning with the Class of 2012, the Dean of the College’s office has provided customized BPA-free Nalgene water bottles to incoming students to encourage reduced consumption of bottled water. Indeed, bottled water is no longer sold on campus. Re-usable water bottle filling stations have been installed across campus to serve Nalgene users.

Dining Services Efforts

Campus dining services have implemented initiatives to increase their sustainability such as:

  • Elimination of Styrofoam cups from student dining halls
  • Trayless service
  • 100% of dining ware in student dining is compostable
  • A portion of food is purchased from four local farms
  • Currently, 80% of cleaning products purchased from a “Green Seal” supplier, employing 100% “green” cleaning chemicals