News and Events
Pepperdine Launches Center for Sustainability
Although the "green revolution" has gained momentum in recent years, Pepperdine's commitment to creating a sustainable campus began in 1972 when a water reclamation program was implemented for irrigation. Since then, Pepperdine has engaged in and created numerous other practices to minimize environmental impact and to instill in students an eco-minded awareness while furthering Pepperdine's Christian mission.
Today, those efforts are officially coordinated through the University's recently created Center for Sustainability (CFS). With the launch of the new CFS Web site, the University community and public are able to learn about the extensive sustainability-focused services available, environmental curriculum and activities for students, tips on going "greener," and current and upcoming practices.
The purpose of the CFS is to advance sustainability at Pepperdine through the implementation of sustainable measures, the communication of successes and challenges while institutionalizing sustainability, as well as the education of the University community. The University specifically emphasizes the triple bottom line approach, which seeks to balance the economic, social, and environmental implications of all decisions. Additionally, responsible stewardship is at the heart of Pepperdine's mission as a natural and necessary corollary to strengthening lives for purpose, service, and leadership.
"Pepperdine takes our responsibility to lead by example on sustainability very seriously. We are committed to ensuring that students leave this wonderful place with many skills, qualities, and traits including an eco-minded awareness," said CFS director Rhiannon Pregitzer (JD '06). "One small change in perspective creates a ripple effect that carries on exponentially. Not only do institutions of higher learning stand as an example to their students and immediate surrounding communities, but the research, teaching, and interaction that such institutions do with outside communities can help incite change in the larger issues that face us today."
Dedicated to constant improvement and reevaluation, the CFS and University departments recently implemented new practices in a variety of areas including: all recycled paper towels, biodegradable to-go ecotainers in cafeterias, composting of food waste through refuse vendor Crown Disposal, rental cars through Hertz Car Sharing, expanded e-waste recycling and battery collection and proper disposal programs for students, and efforts to encourage University departments to use double-sided printing methods and rechargeable batteries.
Through Pepperdine's oldest sustainability practice, the water reclamation program, recycled water has been used for campus irrigation for 37 years. By using recycled water and monitoring water use through the irrigation monitoring program, the University has saved an estimated 3.5 billion gallons of water since construction of the Malibu campus. "We are currently working to increase our use of reclaimed water for irrigation from 95 percent to 99 percent campus-wide," said Pregitzer. Landscaping irrigated with reclaimed water reduces the amount of potable water used on campus.
In addition to water recycling, Pepperdine also operates a waste-recycling program through its partnership with trash vendor Crown Disposal. Trash is separated off-site and every single recyclable item disposed of at Pepperdine is recycled, resulting in 78 percent of all trash being recycled. During campus construction activity this year, an average of 80 percent of all construction waste has been recycled. With an expansive campus and landscape, Pepperdine composts landscaping waste for mulch that is used on-site.
Recognizing driving cars is an essential part of Southern California living, Pepperdine seeks to improve air quality and reduce reliance on fossil fuels by promoting alternate forms of commuting to the Pepperdine community. Carpooling, vanpooling, mass transit, and walking are encouraged and subsidized through the Rideshare program, and employees are helped in finding carpool matches. The facilities management and planning department has a fleet of 20 electric vehicles, Public Safety includes hybrid vehicles in their fleet, and employees are encouraged to take advantage of the ridesharing program, 12 subsidized vanpools, and subsidies for mass transit users. Decreasing the need for on-campus residents to drive, the University houses 52 percent of students and 119 faculty and staff residences.
Students get involved in sustainability and environmentally oriented activities through Pepperdine's Net Impact chapter, new student group "Green Team," and Pepperdine's Step Forward Day, an annual day of service nationwide. Also, the Volunteer Center has an environmental program that is student-led and engages students in green service projects, including trail restoration and maintenance, as well as creek cleanups.
As construction using sustainable products and methods is critical and easier to do today than it was many years ago, Pepperdine designs buildings according to LEED criteria, and the feasibility of certification is being considered for a new project. Past construction projects have used recycled carpet tiles, low-emission VOC paints and flooring, centrally controlled automation systems, natural gas heating systems, and low-flow toilets and showers. Pepperdine has installed energy-efficient lighting, including fluorescent bulbs and LED lighting, in construction, remodeling, and retrofits. Across the campus, a central automation system controls lighting and HVAC systems to minimize energy consumption.
The Malibu campus is located along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, and contains a unique and diverse environment. In order to minimize our impact on that environment, Pepperdine has made a commitment to maintaining vegetation native to California. This eliminates the need for fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticides, while reducing air pollution, minimizing erosion, and improving water quality. Though some of the campus was originally planted with non-native plants, the slopes surrounding the 50-acre Drescher Graduate Campus, completed in 2003, contain 99 percent native vegetation. Soil and seeds collected on-site before the project began were used to replant the slopes.
Preserving open space is another integral part of Pepperdine's conservation practices, with 500 acres out of the 830 that make up the Malibu Campus being set aside for preservation. On Friday, May 1, Pepperdine dedicated 72.7 acres, known as Little Las Flores Canyon, located about eight miles from the campus, of pristine natural habitat to Los Angeles County for preservation.
For more information about all of Pepperdine's sustainable practices and environmental initiatives, visit the Center for Sustainability Web site at www.pepperdine.edu/sustainability/.