NWC receives funding for creation-care initiatives

Northwestern College is one of six institutions awarded mini-grants of up to $5,000 from the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) for creation-care initiatives. The grants are intended to encourage and equip campuses that are seeking to enhance their environmental stewardship efforts.

Other colleges awarded the grants are Carson-Newman College and Milligan College of Tennessee; Eastern Nazarene College of Massachusetts; the King’s College University of Alberta, Canada; and Tabor College of Kansas. The schools were selected from 24 applicants by a panel of specialists in the field of creation care and environmental sustainability.

 “There is a climate of excitement related to creation-care initiatives reflected by the volume of applications and diversity of initiatives proposed,” says Lisa-Jo Baker, director of development and research at the CCCU. “The CCCU is pleased to be able to participate in this process. We look forward to hearing how these mini-grants have served their respective campuses and created ripple effects in their communities.”

Northwestern and the other colleges participated in an April Webinar that discussed creation-care audits, initiating environmental sustainability activities on campus, and planning for long-term impact. “It was helpful to hear what other institutions are doing,” says Jill Haarsma, Northwestern’s executive administrative assistant to the president, who co-wrote the grant proposal with Sue Taylor, government regulations specialist. “We were reminded we’re already doing some great things and challenged to go further in our sustainability efforts.”

As part of the grant, the institutions have targeted five areas where a creation-care initiative could be started in various departments on their respective campuses. In addition, the campuses have committed to conduct a thorough environmental audit by next spring.

Northwestern’s plans include strengthening its recycling program by providing more education and additional oversight, further restoring the college’s tallgrass prairie near Hawarden and developing materials to encourage community use of a walking trail through the site, and pursuing the installation of wind turbines on a college-owned farm. In addition, Northwestern hopes to start a share-a-bike program to encourage students, faculty and staff to bike across campus and around town instead of driving, and to develop a program that collects and donates students’ furniture, clothes and household goods at the end of the school year instead of discarding them.

Northwestern’s Day of Learning in Community on April 1 focused on creation care, with two keynote speeches and more than 50 workshops on various facets of the topic. That campus-wide effort helped the college receive the CCCU mini-grant, according to Haarsma. “The Day of Learning showed Northwestern takes this subject seriously and wants to capitalize on the momentum that has been developed. We hope these new efforts will keep the conversation going and allow us to move further toward being sustainable, both short-term and long-term,” she says.