Recent highlights span diverse areas
We are sharing some recent initiatives highlighting sustainability programs at Salem State in honor of Campus Sustainability Month.
- Salem State University now hosts seven, round, silver plaques with messages about climate change designed to stimulate awareness and spark further investigation. The plaques are part of a regional art installation called “Remembrance of Climate Futures” to engage viewers in looking back from the future at climate events. All coastal municipalities from Lynn to Newburyport are participating.
- Over 1,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members participated in Earth Days programs in April 2022. Three events are also scheduled in October and November.
- A new North Campus Bluebike hub was launched in September, joining the Central Campus Hub along the bike path and 13 other hubs across Salem.
- Citywide ridership tripled from September 2021-September 2022. The three busiest hubs are the two on Salem State’s campus and the one at the downtown end of the Central Campus bike path.
- SSU received a $50,000 grant from the state to add three dual-port electric vehicle charging stations behind Viking, which will bring us to 23 parking spots with charging across campus.
- New 121 KW solar rooftop array on Meier Hall began generating electricity in August 2022, marking SSU’s sixth building to host rooftop solar.
- A 245 KW solar array on O’Keefe should begin operation this winter, giving Salem State close to 1 MW of installed solar capacity.
- SSU is working to refine and then initiate work on the north campus decarbonization plan developed in 2021.
Recycling and Waste
- Freecycle tables debuted in all Residence Halls in the spring and have proven to be wildly popular and are diverting items from the trash.
- Textiles and mattresses are banned from the solid waste stream statewide starting November 1, 2022. SSU is prepared for this, with strong mattress and textile programs already in place.
- Over 37,000 pounds of textiles have been recycled since May 2019 when we installed three white textile recycling bins on campus.
- Over 24,000 pounds of mattresses were recycled in the summer of 2022.
- Climate change and sustainability research occur across campus departments allowing cutting-edge research to be brought into coursework. Recently, three Geography and Sustainability faculty published major papers concerning climate change.
- The MA Department of Conservation and Recreation planted four trees near the Central Campus bike path as part of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program. The trees planted were bald cypress, sweetgum, redbud, and basswood.
- The Sustainability Council interns designed and planted a pollinator garden on Upper North Campus to provide habitat for pollinators whose numbers are declining rapidly. The project was funded by the Alumni Association.
Tara A Gallagher