West Chester University


History & Accomplishments

Listed below is a selection of activities and events involving sustainability at WCU.


April 2014

A special presentation by Dr. James Hansen:   "Tenant Farming to White House Arrests: A Scientific Perspective on the Unfolding Climate Crisis"

February 2014

Sustainability Coordinator Paul Morgan holds a TEDx talk - Against Rhythm: How Postmodern Humans can Wake Up and Find their Groove.

November 2013

Integrating Sustainability workship was held Friday, 1 November. This informative event featured Dr. Neil Weissman, the Provost and Dean of Dickinson College,and Dr. Neil Leary, the Director of Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education. Their presentation/workshop focueds on why and how colleges and universities might integrate sustainability into general education programs

October 2013

Campus Sustainability Day



Sustainability Coordinator Paul Morgan introducing Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz to cap the Campus Sustainability Day festivities.



Mr. Schwartz posing with Kaloni Baylor our Greenhouse Gas Inventory intern.


The Future

Mr. Schwartz during his presentation.

September 2013

The Climate Action Plan has been submitted to ACUPCC.



May 2013

A draft of the Climate Action Plan was delivered by Sustainability Coordinator Paul Morgan to President Weisenstein.

The WCU EARTH Fair was again a successful event. It was part of a package of events offered during Earth Week.

April 2013

WCU was recognized as a Tree Campus USA university. One of only 9 Pennsylvania colleges and universities to be so designated.

March 2013

Sustainability & Entrepreneurship: The Story of Golden Valley Farms

John Sacharock discussed how and why he founded Golden Valley Farms and the challenges and opportunities of building a sustainable business. He will also introduce the concepts of fair trade and social entrepreneurship and talk about how small businesses can work with the larger community to achieve.

Fall 2012

Sustainability recognized as a core principle of the University by the establishment of a Sustainability Theme Team during strategic planning process.



March 2012

Yet again a full set of activities were packed into Earth Week. Earth Week Schedule of Events (PDF)

February 2012

Peter Bardaglio, author of Boldly Sustainable, presents a lecture on "Leadership by Example: Campus-Community Collaboration on Sustainability & Climate Protection" and participates in workshop including campus and community leaders.

January 2012

The Greenhouse gas report is delivered to ACUPCC.


September 2011

Paul Morgan Gerard Hertel accept the official sign signifying the registration of the Outdoor Classroom and Demonstration Garden as a rain garden. Kathy Bergmann, the Red Streams Blue Coordinator of the Brandywine Valley Association made the presentation.

July 2011

The Rain Garden at the Poetry Center is christened with a descriptive brochure.

March 2011
Tim Ponticello and Jessica Richard with able assistance from Gerald Hertel received a grant from the Philadelphia Zoo to build a green wall adjacent to the Outdoor Classroom.

Strategies for a Sustainable Future - a major sustainability event hosted by the WCU SAC, Chester County Sierra Club Committee, and Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection. Featured speaker is Michael Brune (WCU '93), Executive Director of the National Sierra Club. Click here for more information

February 2011
The workshop Integrating Sustainability across all Colleges & Disciplines is held.

December 2010
The Outdoor Garden yields its first harvest

Joy Fritschle, Lynn Monahan, Daria Nikitina Patricia Powell, and Carol Smith are appointed as Faculty Sustainability Ambassadors.

November 2010
The Brandywine Valley Association donates 30 trees to plant along the east branch of the Plum Run that runs through the Gordon Area. Kendra McMillin, Tim Ponticello and Gerald Hertel performed the planting honors.

The Outdoor Classroom Garden yielded its first harvest.

The first CAS lunchtime sustainability workshop organized by Sandra Kerr was held.

October 2010
President Weisenstein signs the American College and Universities Presidents' Climate Commitment.

WCU registers with AASHE Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System STARS.
Aramark's sustainability coordinator at WCU Lindsay Silcox is welcomed to SAC.
Kaloni Baylor, Jessica Copland, Rachel Donley and Ashley Duffy are appointed as sustainability interns.


August 2010
WCU's sustainability efforts, Dr. Tim Lutz (Sustainability Co-ordinator) and the Sustainability Advisory Council (SAC) are featured in the cover story of WCU Magazine's summer issue.

May 2010
The Sustainability Display in Green Library makes it into the Daily Local News.

April 2010
Left to right in lefthand photo below: Drs. Tim Lutz (Sustainability Co-ordinator), Kurt Kolasinski, Joan Welch (Co-chairs of the Sustainability Advisory Council) and President Weisenstein completing the Earth Day Challenge.

An extensive program of events, much of it organized by Dr. Gerald Hertel pictured at the left in the righthand photo, was prepared to mark the 40th celebration of Earth Day. Melissa Nejbauer, second from the right, helped organize the Earth Day Challenge and get the word out.

You can find the text of President Weisenstein's Earth Day Address here.

WCU appoints its 1st sustainability coordinator hits the Daily Local News.

As reported in the WCU Foundation E-Newsletter "Dr. Paul Morgan will launch his new undergraduate and graduate certificate program, Education for Sustainability (EFS), in May of 2010. EFS practitioners work in colleges, universities, and K-12 schools where they integrate sustainability content into curricula, lead efforts to "green" buildings and grounds, and raise critical questions about the purposes of education on a planet with limits. Given accelerating regional, national, and global attention to sustainability, the demand for EFS practitioners is expected to grow dramatically."

March 2010
Hal Dean of Facilities and the Sustainability Advisory Council organize a workshop on solid state lighting sources such as light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Jan 2010
The Environmental Council changes it name to the Sustainability Advisory Council.

Audubon Pennsylvania recognizes the Outdoor Classroom as a success story.

Dec 2009
Dr. Timothy Lutz, a member of the Enviornmental Council, is named the WCU Sustainability Coordinator.

Oct 2009

Kurt Kolasinski attended the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) on 2 October in Harrisburg, PA. He attended the Energy and Higher Education Workshops. Green house gas reduction opportunities that could be explored on campus were discussed, particularly ones involving the management of buildings and facilities and the introduction of solar power projects. PERC will be studying the formation of a statewide solar energy program involving universites and Dr. Kolasinski has volunteer to participate in this working group.

Sept 2009
A program for which the Council has long advocated gets state approval and financing. As announced by Gov. Rendell, West Chester University will receive two loans of $192,294 and $195,000, respectively, for a geothermal system for two academic buildings - part of a project to convert academic buildings and residence halls to geothermal heating and cooling and enabling the university to retire the campus steam plant.

Sustainability was featured not only in President Weisenstein's inaugural address, there also was a very prominent display about sustainability efforts across the Campus. Our efforts were noted in the highlights of the event.

The Facilities Division also unveiled their website featuring their sustainability efforts and highlight energy savings that have resulted thereby.

Aug 2009
Area Set aside for WCU's First Outdoor Garden
A popular movement is grow and eat locally. WCU will provide a learning opportunity to promote this ecologically friendly approach to sustainable living. A small lawn covered area just south of Merion Hall (the ground level greenhouse) has been set aside and a honors class this spring will put together and implement an outdoor garden plan. A composter is already in place and raised soil beds will be constructed. Herbs will be one of the first crops and there is a possibility they will be used by ARAMARK.

Closing down the Stadium Road transfer station The dumpsters that have been a mainstay on the lower portion were permanently removed from the area. The gates to this area will be now be locked during the normal working day when the boxes are removed.

The closing of this area is a huge leap as WCU continues on its path of environmental sustainability and stewardship. There are many reasons we are able to celebrate and why closing down this area will be a great thing for West Chester University and the Facilities Division. We will no longer have a dumping area that is adjacent to an environmental area. From a cost savings standpoint; we will no longer have to handle concrete twice before removing from campus, along with the travel from North to South campus to use the dumpsters will not be needed. This will save time, costs associated with mileage, vehicle maintenance, and help provide extra time to be on the work site.

April 2009
The Outdoor Classroom was dedicated.

We had a jolly good time helping to arrange a Green April.


The WCU Green Report for 2009 is now available.

Feb 2009
The Environmental Council assisted in organizing the PA Green Economy Forum. This event attracted over 300 participants to Sykes Ballroom. Keynote speakers were Kathleen A. McGinty, recent past Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection and Joe Sestak, Member of Congress, representing the 7th District of PA.

Panelists included Fred Dedrick, Stephanie Madsen, Michael J. Fedor and Adam Garber.

On Feb 24 and 25th, the Council hosted Mitch Thomashow President of Unity College in Maine. Prof. Thomashow, who is the author of "Bringing the Biosphere Home", presented a public lecture of the same title. He also addressed students directly in his talk "Students Creating a Sustainable Future: Stories from Unity College." He capped off his visit by leading a roundtable discussion on integrating sustainability into the curriculum with a group of WCU faculty.

June 2008
A President's Initiative Award was granted to the EC, which allowed Kurt Kolasinski to act as the WCU Sustainability Coordinator. We are launching a 'Sustainability at WCU' web site and through it are fostering a culture of sustainability on campus. As Coordinator, Kolasinski collaborates with all members of the campus community seeking to "Encourage environmental awareness through training, curricula, and co-curricula programming, assess and reduce the ecological impact of the University, and promote research and service that foster regional and global sustainability." The website is currently in the design phase. The focus of this project is

  1. Raising the general level of awareness of sustainability activities on campus.
  2. Providing faculty easy access to curricular and pedagogical resources.
  3. Facilitating an AASHE sponsored STARS assessment process focused on the ecological impact of the University.
  4. Enhancing research and service activities at the University.
  5. Promoting the University's sustainability efforts to an external audience.

This project explicitly addresses the Responsiveness Transformation's sustainability sub-goal while furthering Student Success by providing faculty and students with opportunities to "connect theoretical and applied knowledge" in the service of sustainability. This project also supports the development and use of "interdisciplinary and alternative pedagogies" as outlined in the Human Capital Transformation. Finally, the STARS assessment process will identify ways for the University to enhance its Resourcefulness.

3 Dec 2008
WCU hosted a public forum on greenhouse gas reduction in an evented coordinated by the Chester County Greenhouse Gas Reduction Task Force and the Environmental Council

About 50 people attended a public forum on the Chester County Greenhouse Gas Reduction Task Force held at West Chester University's Sykes Student Union Center on Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Read more here from the Daily Local News.

Here is the transcript of the notes that were taken by the students. This is now up on the county's Google site. Note that you may have to sign in to view it.


Find out more about the geothermal initiative at WCU in this PowerPoint presentation and in the 2008 Green Report.

  • Successfully reestablished an environmental mission for West Chester University with adoption of Plan for Excellence Responsiveness subgoal #7.

  • Encourage environmental awareness through training, curricula, and co-curricula programming, assess and reduce the ecological impact of the University, and promote research and service that foster regional and global sustainability.

  • Environmental Council members Paul Morgan and Joan Welch attended the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Curriculum workshop at Emory University January 9-11, 2008.

  • Sustainability Across the Campus and Curriculum Event and Workshop, Facilitated by Dr. Debra Rowe, January 28 and 29, 2008.

  • Civility Day - Go Green, Wednesday, February 20, 2008, Lunchtime speaker Dr. Joan Welch - Civility for Planetary Citizenship, Richard Louv keynote speaker - Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.

  • Also during Civility Day 2008, three members of the Environmental Council (EC) led a panel discussion on "Reconnecting with Nature: remedies for nature-deficit disorder,"which discussed various approaches to enhancing connections with nature for the WCU community. The panel was chaired by EC member Joy Fritschle, and included EC members Gerard Hertel and Tim Lutz, along with Heather Wholey (faculty, Department of Anthropology & Sociology), Daniel Fitz-Patrick (graduate student, Department of Geography & Planning), Dawn Manning (undergraduate student, Department of Anthropology & Sociology), and Sherrie Ruppersberger (undergraduate student, Department of Anthropology & Sociology).

  • Dr. Morgan was the 2007 recipient of the E. Riley Holman Memorial Faculty Award. His project, "Creating a Schoolyard Habitat Demonstration Site at WCU: Learning and Teaching the Environment and Ecology Standards in an Authentic Outdoor Context" was awarded $1,000.00 by the WCU College of Education and the Habitat Site was officially dedicated on March 20, 2008 with assistance from the WCU Children's Center and the Ed Bruno of the WCU Department of Grounds. The project involved designing and constructing, with the aid of WCU students, a schoolyard habitat demonstration site on the West Chester University campus. The aim of the project was to create an ongoing outdoor laboratory where WCU faculty could demonstrate, particularly to future and in-service teachers, how to use innovative outdoor, hands-on projects at their current and future schools.

habitat opening


  • Preparation for Plan for Excellence update to include Sustainability subgoal.

  • Student Environmental Council Sessions established.

  • Sponsored a Sustainable Landscape workshop in 2006 which resulted in a Sustainable Landscape Plan.



  • Paul Ziegler of the Governor's Green Governance Council workshop, LEED scorecard for two University projects: EO Bull Renovation / Addition, and Swope Renovation.

  • Kaiulani Lee, a one-woman play 'A Sense of Wonder' based on the Life and Works of Rachel Carson, April.

  • Sustainability Center Landscape Design Charrette, May


  • West Chester University Sustainability Center and Student Environmental Residence with an organic garden at the site with composting facilities. The 'Gleaning Garden' is designed, planned, and planted by students as part of a service project component for the course 'Science, Technology and Environmental Systems: Sustainability through the Lens of Agriculture.' The produce from the garden goes to homeless shelters in West Chester Borough. There is a rain barrel that catches rooftop runoff to water the garden.

  • Sustainability Teleconference hosted at Sykes Theatre, Thursday, October 9, 12- 2 PM. This was a national teleconference featuring an outstanding panel. Please see for information.

  • Dr. Bruce W. Grant of Widener University gave a seminar on March 29. Bruce is a national leader in campus ecology and science education [especially methods for teaching ecology. He has been very active working with the Ecological Society of America on these issues.



  • SOMPAC and residence halls LEED workshop which resulted in LEED Silver rating targeted in bid documents for SOMPAC, and a geothermal system for South Campus Residence Halls.



  • SCHMUCKER SOCIETY An interest in our natural environment has been the stimulus for the organization of the Schmucker Society. Members may be found doing research work in fields and along streams - places where a colorful, dynamic life goes on, unbeknownst to those who have not experienced the satisfactions of this particular study. The name of the club honors Dr. Samuel Schmucker, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the college, whose name has long been associated with scientific circles, local and national. Having completed its first year of existence, the club is looking forward to better things in years to come.