Office of Sustainability

Chatham University

June 1, 2015
by mwhitney

Spring 2015 Sustainability Accomplishments!

With all that we have going on here in our office, we have unfortunately neglected to update the blog recently! However, there are many exciting sustainability initiatives and updates to share from this past Spring semester, including:

  • The RoundUp for Green Fund program was instituted at Cafe Rachel and in Anderson Dining Hall and has made over $88 to be donated toward student sustainability projects!
  • Chatham University was listed at #47 on The Princeton Review Green Schools Top 50 Schools list and #20 on The Sierra Club’s Cool Schools 2014 list!
  • We are RecycleMania 2015 Winners! 11th for Grand Champion, with a recycling rate of 66.821%, 4th for food waste organics/ compost with a rate of 24.738 pounds per person, and FIRST PLACE in sustainable actions student engagement as part of the 3R Actions Challenge competition!
  • Project Green Sleeves, one of our RecycleMania initiatives, has also been extremely successful as a fundraiser for the Green Fund! Chatham crafters have been creating and donating coffee cup sleeves to be sold at Cafe Rachel for $1, which have been selling out almost immediately!


We also have Maymester and Summer semester accomplishments to share as well, including hosting the Shale Waste Disposal Forum at Chatham’s Eddy Theatre with the League of Women Voters, and the opportunity to showcase all of our office achievements when Chatham University hosts the ASHS/AFHVS Food Studies conference, “Bridging the Past, Cultivating the Future: Exploring Sustainable Foodscapes” from June 24-28!

December 2, 2014
by mwhitney

Fall 2014 Accomplishments

It’s that time of year again, where we all take time to reflect on all of the things that we are grateful for. At the Chatham University Office of Sustainability, we have continued to work toward our goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 and have made great strides in sustainable development on our three campus locations! The following is a list of new accomplishments made this semester that we are grateful for, and we look forward to continuing to implement new sustainability initiatives at Chatham!

  • In the beginning of the semester, University Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Whitney, in conjunction with a spokesperson from Scalo Solar, spoke about the energy potential of solar power, highlighting the solar array at Eden Hall! The workshop was a part of a summer series at Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus.


  • In September, we hosted the movie Time as Money: A Documentary Film about Timebanking, in conjunction with the Falk School of Sustainability and the Three Rivers Timebank.
  • For two weeks in October, a number of Chatham University faculty and staff participated in the NorthWest Earth Institute’s EcoChallenge! The focus of the EcoChallenge was for each person to choose one measurable and attainable goal that would work to reduce his/her carbon footprint!
  • The Bike Works bike shop hosted two workshops on basic bike maintenance to encourage Chatham’s biking community to learn how to fix and upkeep their bikes! Bike Works also provided a number of semester and year-long bike rentals for students and staff on campus!


  • As Chatham’s Eden Hall campus continues to grow, a number of new sustainability initiatives and developments have been implemented on the campus, one of which is that coffee cups and food waste can now be composted!
  • Our University Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Whitney (received her PhD this summer!), spoke at the annual Assoc. for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in Portland on voluntary sustainability agreements made by university’s as a method of addressing climate change.
  • The Chatham University Green Fund, a community-driven fund for campus sustainability projects, was launched in October! Chatham community members can now donate through MyChatham to assist in the funding of student-created projects! Through an application process detailing the measurable impacts on the sustainability of the campus, students can submit project proposals each semester that will then be voted on by the Chatham University Climate Committee.
  • E-waste recycling bins were installed on all three of Chatham’s campuses! The Chatham community can now safely recycle CDs, ink cartridges, and batteries. The bins also have compartments for old cell phones that will be donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers and/or Hopeline.


  • Chatham has partnered with the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), UPMC, Allegheny Co. Health Department, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Sota Construction, and PJ Dick on a new Clean Construction Vehicle program. We hosted an industry panel here in November to discuss clean construction trends and projects, including Chatham’s Eden Hall campus.
  • Chatham has once again joined the Green Workplace Challenge, sponsored by Sustainable Pittsburgh. The GWC is a year-long competition that promotoes energy efficiency and other sustainability-focused actions. We also hosted the awards banquest on campus for the 2013-2014 GWC participants.

We are looking forward to another great semester of sustainability work in 2015! Best of luck to all of the Chatham students during finals, and we hope everyone has a safe and relaxing winter break!

August 27, 2014
by mwhitney

Back to School! New Sustainability Initiatives starting Fall 2014

Hello world!

School started again on Monday here at Chatham University, and the Office of Sustainability at Chatham has gotten back online and resurfaced our internet presence! We have a number of exciting new sustainability initiatives and projects that we are continuing to promote and enhance!

Eden Hall Summer Event Series:

  • TOMORROW! Harness the Sun: Solar Home Projects & Energy Saving Tips at Eden Hall. Thursday, August 28, 6:30-8:30pm. Tour one of the largest solar installations in Pennsylvania at Eden Hall Campus, and learn about the potential of harnessing the energy of the Sun to power your home. Local experts will guide you through what a successful solar home project looks like, and encourage you to recognize easy energy-saving actions you and your family can start doing in your home immediately! Our Sustainability Coordinator, (the newly titled) Dr. Mary Whitney, will be presenting!

Green Fund:

  • Students will soon be able to submit and vote for on-campus sustainability projects as part of the Chatham Green Fund! The fund will provide money for student-led sustainability initiatives and encourage students to make a contribution to the Chatham campus for years after they have graduated!

Office Supply Exchange (OSX):

  • The OSX is stocked up for the fall semester with binders, folders, notebooks, and plenty of other school supplies donated by members of the Chatham community! Students can pick up supplies for FREE and all members of the Chatham community are encouraged to donate unwanted school supplies to OSX! The OSX located on the Shadyside campus across from the Falk Copy Center and at the East Side campus on the second floor study lounge.

Bike Works Bike Rentals:

  • Bike Works has bike rentals available by semester or for the year! Email for questions about pricing and bike options! Each bike rental comes with a lock, helmet, and lights! Bike Works also provides FREE basic bike maintenance!

We are looking forward to another productive and exciting year in the Office of Sustainability! Keep your eye out for news about upcoming events and projects!

April 29, 2014
by mwhitney

Highlights from Fall 2013-Spring 2014

As the summer semester at Chatham begins next Monday, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the Office of Sustainability’s accomplishments this year, as well as the achievements in sustainable development around the university!

  • In the beginning of the fall semester, the School of Sustainability and the Environment (now the Falk School of Sustainability) hosted “Inside Eden hall,” a set of community meetings to discuss the progress of Chatham’s Eden Hall campus as it pertained to water, energy, food, and sustainable design.

“Inside Eden Hall” tour of the student-operated garden

  • During the Eden Hall campus unveiling on October 10, Chatham University was awarded $15 million from the Falk Family Foundation for the Eden Hall campus.
Opening Celebration for Eden Hall.

Opening Celebration for Eden Hall.

  • In conjunction with the East End Food Co-op, the Food Studies program hosts a symposium on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to discuss how these crops effect our food system.
  • POWERSHIFT 2013, the youth-focused climate change conference, came to Pittsburgh, PA! Chatham University hosted students from other other colleges and universities, and a few graduates of the Food Studies program were panelists on food and climate change discussions.
  • Chatham University was selected was part of the Green Workplace Challenge Leader Board!
  • Chatham University joined the Food Waste Recovery Network, a national network of universities committed to decreasing food waste on campuses!
  • At the Farm to Table 2014 conference, students from the Chatham University Food Studies program led workshops on topics such as creating seed bombs and local/organic alcohol production! Chatham was one of the event sponsors and provided basil-growing packets for conference attendees.
Tabling at the Farm to Table Conference

Tabling at the Farm to Table Conference

  • For their capstone project, two Masters of Sustainability students hosted the second annual Blanket Swap Bazaar, where Chatham students and faculty could trade/swap/sell gently used clothing and accessories! This event was in conjunction with RecycleMania 2014, a nationwide competition of colleges and universities to track recycling, composting, and waste reduction.
  • The Falk School of Sustainability hosted screenings of “TINY: A Story about Living Small,” and “We the Tiny People: Small Homes, Tiny Flats, and Wee Shelters” to sold-out student and faculty audiences.
  • Chatham University once again participates in “Earth Hour,” a global movement to turn off electricity for one hour! On-campus dorms and facilities participate, and students and faculty who live off-campus sign a petition to commit to “Earth Hour.”
  • Our Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Whitney, presents on to how-to’s of Carbon Audits to Chatham students, faculty, and local sustainability organizations. The Office of Sustainability performs these audits for the university to track our progress on the path to carbon neutrality!
  • Bike Pittsburgh and the Office of Sustainability hosted the first annual Women and Biking Forum at Chatham University! Women from all over the Pittsburgh area came together to hear from speakers, participate in discussion groups on bike safety and accessibility, learn bike maintenance skills, and join in a culminating bike ride around campus!
Sarah, a Chatham College for Women student and Bike PGH intern, learning how to use the bike racks on a Pittsburgh Port Authority bus!

Sarah, a Chatham College for Women student and Bike PGH intern, learning how to use the bike racks on a Pittsburgh Port Authority bus!

  • The Chatham Department of Communication hosted the Media and Social Change Conference: Seeking Sustainability, that included student presentations on sustainable community projects, student-created films on topics pertaining to sustainability, and a lecture by Dr. Jennifer Adams on “Creative Inquiry and Critical Connections to Place, Identity, and Environment.”
  • For another capstone project, two Masters of Sustainability students and their professor, Molly Mehling, created The Drop Project, an exploration of water and art at Assemble Gallery in Garfield. The Drop Project hosted a number of community events dedicated to understanding how water impacts our everyday lives.
  • For the RecycleMania 2014 competition, Chatham University ranked in the Top 20 out of all schools across the U.S. for waste minimization, and in the Top 10 for food service organics (compost collection)!
  • On the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s passing, the Office of Sustainability helped host the “Rachel Carson Commemoration and Garden Dedication.” The event included speakers from the Rachel Carson Institute, a reading of Rachel Carson’s on her observations of monarch butterflies, and the dedication of the Rachel Carson Garden, which was a gift from the class of 2011.
Rachel Carson Butterfly Garden

Rachel Carson Butterfly Garden, soon-to-be in bloom!

  • Chatham’s Naturality Club hosted “One Day without Shoes,” a worldwide event sponsored by TOMS Shoes that promotes education for students in developing countries.
  • On Earth Day 2014, Chatham University announced that it was selected for Princeton Review’s list of 332 Green Colleges! This has been the fourth year that Chatham University has been included!

Overall, this list provides just a small glimpse as to the dedication of the Office of Sustainability team to the promotion of sustainability at Chatham! We are excited to be the home for sustainability initiatives on campus as Chatham University continues to move forward as a leading university for sustainability!

April 14, 2014
by mwhitney

Rachel Carson Commemoration and Garden Dedication

Today we honored the 50th anniversary of the passing of Rachel Carson by celebrating her life through a commemoration celebration. Mary Kostalos, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Chatham and the Founding Director of the Rachel Carson Institute spoke on “Weaving the Web: 25 Years,” reflecting her role at the institute and on the importance of preserving Rachel Carson’s legacy. Patricia DeMarco, PhD, Senior Scholar at Chatham and Visiting Researcher and Writer at Carnegie Mellon University, spoke on “Rachel Carson: The Power of One Voice,” reminding us of the relevance of Rachel Carson’s message on the urgency to act on protecting the Earth. Ashley Fersch, a soon-to-be graduate in the CCW and a member of the Mortar Board honors society read a passage from Carson titled “Monarchs: A Reading from Lost Woods.”

The commemoration was followed up by the dedication of the new Rachel Carson Garden, a butterfly garden donated by the 2011 Senior Class Gift. The garden will be host to a variety of plants that attract monarch butterflies, to honor Rachel Carson’s love of nature and her promotion of sustainability. Attendees at the event  planted seeds to be grown in Chatham’s greenhouse that will then be replanted in the garden.

Linda Johnson, Mary Kostalos, Patricia DeMarco, and Mary Whitney

March 30, 2014
by mwhitney

Chatham MBA blog post on our Carbon Audits!

Earlier this month, our most favorite Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Whitney, presented to the Chatham community on how to do carbon auditing for universities and businesses. Stephanie Churchel, an MBA student at Chatham, wrote this blog post about Mary’s presentation!

Check it out here:

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