Since Peter Wege launched the first West Michigan College Presidents’ meeting on Economicology in 1999, Aquinas College has been a leader in the integration of sustainability into campus life and academic coursework. Sustainable practices are a part of all of our operations and programming; we are especially proud of our pioneering accomplishment of offering a Sustainable Business undergraduate degree in 2003. This program has placed dozens of dynamic change agents in leading companies across the region.

As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Aquinas is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. In 2014, Aquinas launched a green revolving fund to provide funding for campus energy efficiency. We have been top of the leaderboard in the nationwide Recyclemania competition, and our recent student-led Zero-waste initiative has resulted in an over 70% diversion rate from landfills and incinerators. Several new projects are nearing completion such as the campus Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy and nature app for campus visitors. By collaborating with other institutions and groups such as the Wege Foundation, Community Sustainability Partnership, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light, and WMSBF, we maximize our impact.

In the past years, we have offered free programing on sustainability through our High School Economicology Day. Explicitly organized to better educate campus and community members, our Economicology Forum has reached over 900 attendees. Engaged service is a hallmark of our Catholic and Dominican traditions, and hundreds of Aquinas staff, faculty, and students volunteer for programs such as Habitat for Humanity, the WMEAC Mayors’ River Cleanup, and our own campus “We All Live Here” service day. Students at Aquinas are introduced to sustainability on their first day, and that education continues through innovative programming for the duration of their time at the College. Aquinas is grateful for receiving the Sustainable Business of the Year Award and looks forward to building a more sustainable future with our great West Michigan partners.