Comprised of faculty, staff, alumni, and students, the Greener Dominican Task Force supports Dominican’s internal efforts to become an environmentally sustainable campus.
The task force’s role is to serve as a resource to the University’s governance system by assessing environmental policies, procedures, and practices leading to the development of plans of action that will help Dominican to become a model of environmental sustainability.
The task force also collaborates with local and international partners making Domincian more known as an educational center for environmental sustainability. The task force is a recognized subcommittee of the University’s Campus Utilization and Policy Committee (CUPC), with one voting member on the CUPC.
Recent projects led by the Greener Dominican Task Force include Earth Day campus clean-ups, educational campaigns and projects on recycling, the use of technology to reduce the use of resources (e.g. energy, paper, etc.), hazardous waste minimization, organic and local buying, and reduction of Styrofoam in the dining room.
It was the task force that recommended that Dominican join the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The AASHE is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to create a sustainable future. AASHE was founded in 2006 with a mission to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education - from governance and operations to curriculum and outreach - through education, communication, research, and professional development.
In January 2008 Dominican was honored by the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce with an Environmental Leadership Award for our work on campus and in the community in the area of environmental sustainability. The energy and focus of key Dominican faculty, staff, and students has been an important factor in developing and expanding Dominican’s environmental program.
To visit the task force's web site, please click here.
The Green Club is a student club created in Spring 2007. During the past two years, the Green Club has devoted most of its time educating Dominican University students about recycling, reducing their use of plastics, and turning to alternative forms of transportation. Recently the club worked to increase the number of recycling bins in the residence halls.
The club recently designed and distributed reusable mugs for use by students, faculty, and staff. The mug was central to a 'plastic social' held for the Dominican community in order to emphasize the importance of recycling and reducing the use of plastics.
The Green Club is developing a "green" newsletter called The Redwood, which will debut in Spring 2009.
Dominican has partnered with the San Rafael Business Improvement District to offer a student and faculty discount program for Dominican students to explore and shop in downtown San Rafael – on foot.
San Rafael merchants are offering Dominican students, faculty, and staff a discount or incentives, such as a "buy one, get one free deal" or a gift to members of the Dominican community who show a University ID card. The University also will provide walkers with reusable bottles in order to reduce water bottle usage.
Downtown San Rafael is less than a mile away from the city's downtown, the journey on foot is about a 15-minute walk.
Follow this link to read an article about the collaborative from the Marin Independent Journal.
Dominican’s comprehensive composting program not only saves the University several thousand dollars each year in dumpster fees, but also helps reduce the production of methane in landfills.
“We compost leaves, lawn clippings, and plant trimmings - basically we try to not have any organic materials leave the campus,” says Michael Henkes, associate director of facilities. “With the assistance of Bon Appétit, we also compost a large portion of kitchen waste.”
The food waste is combined with leaves, grass, and other organic materials and deposited on one of six large compost piles – the piles are so large that they must be turned by tractor every four weeks. Henkes estimates the University composts about 20 cubic yards of organic waste each month.
Keeping organic materials out of the landfills not only saves money and landfill space but also cuts the generation of methane-a powerful greenhouse gas created from organic materials' anaerobic decomposition. One ready, the compost is redistributed throughout campus.
Meanwhile, larger tree limbs and downed trees chipped and used as mulch for moisture retention and weed control.
The grounds crew also is involved with an ongoing program to remove invasive nonnative species of plants and replace them with native or noninvasive drought resistant varieties.
Dominican’s food service manager Bon Appétit Management Co. makes it a priority to serve foods purchased from local farmers who use sustainable growing practices.
Bon Appétit has developed programs with Environmental Defense, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, the Humane Society of the United States, and other leading conservation organizations.
Throughout the year Bon Appétit organizes themed lunch events to make students think about food choices and sources.
In the Eat Local Challenge, every ingredient in the meal comes from farmers or artisan producers within a 150 mile radius of Dominican. On Low Carbon Diet Day, all food stations highlight low carbon food choices.
In addition, only cage-free eggs, antibiotic-free meats, and hormone-free milk are served in Dominican’s cafeteria.