Newman University has taken another step in ongoing efforts designed to create a more “green” campus – and save the university money.
Newman recently contracted with Seeders, Inc., a Wichita municipal and commercial landscaping and erosion control company, to replant the east campus area with native grasses and wild flowers. The project is expected to improve aesthetics, add to the university’s goal to be a more “green” campus, and save $18,000 annually, according to Newman Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark Dresselhaus.
“We conferred with Seeders, Inc. owner Linda Snook, a Newman alumnae and a member of our Board of Trustees, who offered many good ideas to help develop a sustainable campus,” Dresselhaus said. “We tried to work out plans that were environmentally advantageous and that would reduce maintenance time and costs. In doing that, we came up with the idea of replanting the area with Kansas native grasses and flowers.”
The project is one of several initiatives Newman officials have taken to support a goal of the university’s Strategic Plan, which says the institution will “maintain the university’s physical plant in a way that models the principles of good stewardship.” The grass and wild flowers are designed to help reduce the carbon footprint from fuels used in mowing and lawn care.
“With native grasses, they will grow and you do not have to water – which is important because water is also a resource that needs to be conserved,” said Dresselhaus. “No fertilizers are needed either, so that will help keep those chemicals out of the ground.”
Other “green” projects undertaken in recent years include renovations in older buildings, replacing less efficient light fixtures and boilers, and making recycling easily accessible throughout the campus. The university also did away with trays in the dining hall, operated by Great Western Dining Service, Inc., to help cut down one-third of the water used in washing dishes. Newman has also adopted measures to recycle kitchen grease and motor oil whenever possible, Dresselhaus said.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: June 13, 2012 A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Seeders, Inc.