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Sustainability at DeSales

Creating a brighter tomorrow for current and future generations through education, community action, and continuous improvement.

As a Catholic, Salesian university, our sustainable initiatives and campus operations are created around the principles of Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on caring for our common home) and its action platform. 

Through the acknowledgment and celebration of the interconnection between God, humans, and the planet, we are able to take transformative action to care for creation and serve the common good.

In the pursuit of caring for creation and our common home, all sustainable action taken at DeSales is rooted in:

  • Discovering God in all things
  • Ecological education
  • Responding to the cries of the earth and the poor
  • Adopting sustainable lifestyles that promote sobriety in the use of resources and energy
  • Community engagement and participatory action at various levels​​​​​​​

Get Involved

DeSales has several departments and student organizations that are helping in the effort to make our campus more sustainable.

  • Campus Sustainability Coalition - comprised of students, faculty and staff. Contact
  • The Green Team - A student organization that aims to improve the sustainability of our campus, our community, and our world. Visit the Green Team on Engage.
  • Students for Sustainability - A student organization that aims to raise awareness about environmental issues. Visit the Students for Sustainability on Engage.
  • Center for Service and Social Justice (CSSJ) - Directed by Jaime Gerhart, this center provides public service opportunities for all members of the University community. Visit the CSSJ on MyDSU.

Sustainability Initiatives

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

    Four ChargePoint dual charging stations (level 2) can charge up to eight vehicles at one time. Located behind Dooling Hall, these charging stations are open to students, faculty, staff, and the public with electric vehicles.

  • Micro-Solar System

    Located on top of the Isenring Center, this micro-solar system provides energy to charge battery powered tools that are used by our maintenance department.

  • Energy

    • HVAC Systems—Improving the energy efficiency of the heating and cooling systems in all campus buildings through equipment upgrades and routine preventative maintenance.
    • Energy Curtailment—Adjusting thermostats to conserve energy during summer and holiday breaks when buildings are not occupied or are offline.
    • Appliances—University provided appliances are energy efficient (e.g. washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, and dishwashers).
  • Lighting

    • LED Lights—Most major lighting systems in academic and residential buildings have been converted to LED lights to reduce energy usage.
    • Occupancy and Vacancy Sensors—Installed in classrooms, offices, hallways, lounges, and restrooms, these sensors shut off lights when spaces are not occupied.
  • Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

    Water conserving faucets, toilets, and shower heads have been installed in all residential buildings and the majority of public restrooms.

  • Bottle-Filling Stations

    Bottle-filling stations (and water coolers) provide cold filtered drinking water in 17 different buildings on campus. These stations help to keep our campus community hydrated, all while reducing waste from plastic bottles. An ongoing project is helping to bring bottle filling stations to all floors of every residential building. For a complete list of bottle-filling station locations, please visit Sustainability on MyDSU.

  • Reduction of Pesticides, Herbicides, Fertilizers, & Mowing

    In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of lawn maintenance, areas on campus have been categorized into one of three zones:  

    • Zone 1: Traditional Treatment—Receives routine weekly mowing and traditional fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide treatments. Includes highly visible areas that are routinely utilized, such as the campus mall and athletic fields.
    • Zone 2: Mow Only—Receives routine weekly mowing with no chemical treatments. Dandelions may be spotted in these areas between routine mowing sessions.
    • Zone 3: Meadows & Minimal Maintenance—Receiving only intermittent mowing and maintenance, these areas have the ability to grow naturally for the majority of the year.
  • Dining Services

    Dining services is helping to create a brighter future through their sustainable initiatives that focus on four key priorities: health, planet, and our people. Initiatives include local suppliers, campus farmers' markets, recycling, eco-containers and straws, and fair trade coffee. To learn more, visit Dining Services Sustainability.

  • Recycling

    We provide indoor and outdoor single-stream recycling throughout campus, as well as electronic waste (e-waste) recycling. To find out what is recyclable on campus, please visit Sustainability on MyDSU.

“All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”

– Laudato Si’ 14