The Public Honors College

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St. Mary’s College Chosen as One of First Leaders of the Maryland Green Registry

Noted for its Strong Commitment to the Environment
July 8, 2010
Press Release #10-135

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St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) is one of five organizations to receive the Leadership Award of the Maryland Green Registry. This is the first year the Registry has recognized special leadership amongst its 210 members. The award recognizes organizations that show a strong commitment to sustainable practices, that continue to improve its environmental performance, and that demonstrate measurable results.

In its winning application, the college noted it is particularly proud that its environmental efforts are championed by the students. Recently, the students voted to increase their annual fees to expand the college's green enterprises and to implement a variety of renewable energy projects on campus. The college also pointed to its active Sustainability Committee, which is made up of students, staff, and faculty, and is supported by the college's trustees.

"St. Mary's College of Maryland is proud to be the one educational institution among the first annual Leadership Award winners chosen by Maryland Green Registry," said college President Joseph Urgo. "Sustainability is among the chief sensibilities instilled by a residential liberal arts college education. Our students are helping to make our college a sustainable community, and after graduating from St. Mary's, they will carry their commitment to environmental stewardship to their workplace and home communities."

The efforts by students, faculty, and staff have helped the college achieve 100 percent carbon neutrality for electricity through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits. This year, it offset 12,000 metric tons of CO2, making it one of the largest purchasers of green power in the region. A year-old plan to stop using trays in the dining hall has reduced waste by 23 percent, reduced food costs, and reduced water consumption (used for washing the trays).

The four other winners are British American Auto Care, Inc., GM Baltimore Transmission Plant, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and Union Hospital of Cecil County.

The winners, says the Registry, represent a variety of facility types and sizes, but all have several key factors in common: Each has a green team, boasts organization-wide commitment to environmental performance, sets annual environmental goals, and measures results.

St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.

More than 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest four-year graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2010 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Team champions.