marywood campus initiatives
Protecting Our Water
A natural outgrowth of our commitment to care for Creation is the way the sisters live and work on the Marywood campus. Although the 34 acre campus holds numerous buildings, the grounds maintain an inviting park-like atmosphere that is home to turkeys, dee, raccoons, skunks, rabbits, hawks and many other creatures of God.
Two rain gardens help to catch water runoff and reduce the amount of chemicals entering the storm sewer system. The gardens, which are comprised primarily of plants and flowers native to Michigan, also provide a splash of color and beauty to the grounds.
In addition to the rain gardens, two water detention ponds have been built in cooperation with the City of Grand Rapids. Water collected in these ponds filter through several layers of sediment, trapping many chemicals and waste, preventing them from entering the storm water system and the creek that runs through the west edge of the property. These ponds are designed to nurture the environment and prevent mosquito larvae from forming.
Waste Reduction and Energy Conservation
For more than 10 years the Dominicans have been active recyclers. We have been reusing and recycling paper, plastic, cardboard, electronics and telephone books. Sisters partake in a “Put and Take” program where personal possessions like clothing and furniture are collected and “recycled” among the sisters. Employees take part in a similar program. All remaining items are taken to the local thrift store.
All cleaning and laundry products used on campus are Earth friendly. The facilities department is currently implementing a re-lamping program where old ballasts and bulbs are being removed from light fixtures and being replaced with energy efficient hardware and bulbs.
Two steam boilers were recently removed and replaced by an on-demand hot water system that has greatly reduced the amount of natural gas being used. Much of the campus remains without air conditioning, which can nearly double the amount of electricity used. Residents remain comfortable in the summer months by a deflective heat film that covers windows and with ceiling fans which circulate air between rooms.
A number of sisters are active in environmental activities, including Sister Mary Stauder, who runs a campus-wide composting project, and Sister Mary Lucille Janowiak, who works with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, helping area churches become more energy efficient.