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Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility

Marywood University is empowered to create real change through a campus-wide investment in sustainability and environmental responsibility. To us, sustainability involves taking a holistic look at environmental, economic, and social factors affecting our communities, the historical systems we are working to change, and creating a world where ecosystems and societies are able to thrive. 

Through academic programming, extensive research opportunities, student action, and a thoughtful plan for the future, we're working to be leaders in the sustainability movement in Northeast Pennsylvania and to take an innovative, creative approach to our work. We're striving to develop better standards and practices, while educating our communities and challenging local, state, and national governments to engage in meaningful efforts around the environment.

Buildings, Energy, and Operations

Marywood University has worked diligently to establish sustainable practices on campus, from retrofitting our buildings for increased efficiency to building partnerships that help provide environmentally responsible options in dining, residential life, and campus mobility. We’ve strived to build programs that make living a sustainable life easier and more accessible, regardless of background or resources. 

A Laudato Si' University

In October 2021, Marywood University became a member of the first international cohort of Laudato Si' Universities by the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, in support of Pope Francis’ 7-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology—an action-oriented and holistic approach that addresses seven ecological and social challenges in the world.

Community Garden

In 2010, the Overlook Estate Foundation awarded a grant to the Marywood University Arboretum for the creation of the Community Garden. The 26-plot garden was created for employees and members of the community who enjoy gardening but lack the proper resources to create their own. The preserved green spaces and natural resources help people reconnect with nature, advance environmental stewardship, and unite communities. Non-community gardeners are welcome to visit the garden, observe progress, share insight and may even be notified if there is an abundance of fruit, veggies, or flowers to be shared during the harvest.

Follow the gardeners on The Marywood Community Garden Facebook Page.

Sustainable Features

Daylight Harvesting - A lighting control system reduces illumination levels by fixtures when daylight shining into the space is bright enough for building occupants. The reduced light levels result in lower energy consumption for the lighting system as well as a minimized building cooling load. 

Rainwater Harvesting - The rainwater harvesting system collects and stores captured rainwater to meet non potable water needs. The system includes a storage tank, a small pump, and water filtration and UV disinfection. The storage tank is filled after a rainfall event of approximately 1/2”.

Radiant Cooling - The HVAC system for the studio area is a radiant cooling system. A series of chilled beams use water from a mine water geothermal cooling system to meet the space cooling requirements. Cooling from the chilled beam system requires less energy than traditional HVAC systems.

Geothermal - Marywood and Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., an engineering and construction services firm, repurposed abandoned coal mines underneath the campus into a source of geothermal energy for the Center of Architectural Studies in 2010. Ground-coupled geothermal systems use the constant temperature of the earth's crust to exchange energy for heating and cooling applications. The geothermal system utilizes two wells to extract energy from the earth. 

The biggest advantage that geothermal has over solar and wind is its 24/7 availability. Solar and wind power will experience times when they are not producing energy.

Renewable Energy Credits - In 2005, Marywood began purchasing five percent of its power in "renewable energy credits" in support of electricity produced by wind turbines. The purchase, more expensive than standard energy, is an investment in the future of the planet.

Wind Power - In August 2010, Marywood installed a wind turbine to harness wind energy to power its Aquatics Center. Based on its performance, Marywood is considering the purchase of up to six additional turbines to provide power to other buildings on campus. Learn more about Marywood Wind Turbine.

Sustainable Dining - Marywood's Dining Services provider, Gourmet Dining, is committed to protecting the environment, reducing waste, and supporting our local community.

Project Green Thumb - Project Green Thumb encourages students to properly separate and dispose of food leftovers and materials that can be recycled or composted. Marywood's dining services team leads by example by recycling cans, bottles, cardboard, and paper. 

Trayless Dining - Marywood has removed trays from all of its dining locations to reduce food waste, promote healthier eating habits through portion control, and eliminate the water, chemicals, and energy used to wash trays.

Education and Research

Marywood's mission to educate students to live responsibly in a diverse and interdependent world includes teaching them how to conserve natural resources so that future generations inherit a sustainable planet. Our faculty members are eager to add sustainable components to their courses. Many of them are spearheading "green" projects both on and off-campus.


Marywood's School of Architecture encourages students to become environmental stewards by focusing on sustainable building practices.

Environmental Science and Environmental Studies

Marywood offers undergraduate degree programs in Environmental Science and in Environmental Studies. The programs are designed to allow students to study these and other environmental issues using a multidisciplinary approach.

The Environmental Science program focuses on the interactions between physical, chemical and biological components of the Earth’s natural environment. These components include energy, agriculture, water and air. Environmental science closely examines the human impact on the environment. 

The Environmental Studies program takes on a broader view, looking at the natural sciences as well as social sciences. You’ll look at how humans relate to the environment and how environmental challenges intersect with political and historical considerations, public policy, and the law.