Creation Care is rooted in who we are and what we do.
We want renewing God’s good earth to be a way of life, so we make sustainability a priority—as an educational goal and an institutional value. We’re committed to learning how to be good caretakers of creation on our campus and around the globe.
Sustainability efforts at Calvin are rooted both in our heritage and our reformed mission. They are also strategic. The current strategic plan embraces and enacts environmental sustainability as a core value. And Calvin is guided in its sustainability efforts by its board of trustees-approved Statement on Sustainability, which takes seriously the biblical mandate to be stewards of God’s good earth.
Signatory of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment
Calvin College is a signatory of the Climate Commitment since December 2017. The Climate Commitment is one of three commitments which make up the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments, a flagship program of the nonprofit Second Nature.
Recipient of a silver STARS rating, AASHE
The STARS rating system factors in performance in four categories: academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration.
2.7 million kilowatts of energy savings
Since its inception in 2010, Calvin Energy Recovery Fund has saved the college 2.7 million KWH of energy, 5.4 million gallons of water and more than 2,100 metric tons of CO2.
100-acre ecosystem preserve on campus
The Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens, which comprises 1/4 of campus, acts as a natural escape from the urban environment that surrounds it.
Among top 200 cool schools, Sierra Club
The Sierra Club identifies Calvin College as one of the most eco-literate colleges and universities.
$2.8 million in external grants for Plaster Creek Stewards
The EPA, DEQ, and other organizations have awarded the Plaster Creek Stewards funding for education, restoration, and research efforts in the area’s most contaminated waterway.
98 courses engage students around issues of sustainability
The theme of sustainability runs through many of Calvin’s curricular offerings, from biology to philosophy.
639 tons of recycling through the physical plant in 2016
Recycling and dining hall composting diverted about 48% of waste material from landfill or incineration in 2016.
We’re learning about sustainability from many angles because we realize that caring for our environment doesn’t fit neatly in a box—and doesn’t belong only in the classroom. Every day, our students, faculty and staff make big and small choices and discoveries that improve sustainability right here on our 400-acre campus and make an impact around the globe.
A Brief History
- 1980 Earthkeeping: Christian Stewardship of Natural Resources, a groundbreaking book on creation care, is published.
- 1985 The Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens is established, and in 2017, expands to comprise 1/4 of the campus.
- 1990 The student-led Environmental Stewardship Coalition is established with the mission of raising campus consciousness regarding current environmental issues and emphasizing the Christian responsibility of stewardship.
- 1997 The Calvin Environmental Assessment Program is started, taking academically based service-learning to another level.
- 2004 The Bunker Interpretive Center is completed. The 5,000-square-foot educational space is the first LEED Gold-certified building in Grand Rapids.
- 2007 The board of trustees approves the Statement on Sustainability, a document produced by the Faculty Environmental Stewardship Coalition.
- 2008 Engineering students launch CERF, a green revolving fund, with donations and seed money from the college.
- 2009 Plaster Creek Stewards, a collaboration of faculty, staff, and students working with local schools, churches, and community partners to restore the health and beauty to the area’s most contaminated waterway, is formed.
- 2010 Calvin receives the “Greatest Green Initiative” award from the Business Review in West Michigan for innovation in faculty development and sustainability across the curriculum, among other initiatives.
- 2011 An environmental studies major is established.
- 2014 A second community garden is established on the Knollcrest campus.
- 2016 Calvin receives a STARS Silver Rating for sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
- 2017 Calvin earned Silver STARS rating for second year in a row.
- 2017 President signed the Climate Commitment.