Giving to Scripps College

Creating a Greener Future at Scripps

May 17, 2019

Campus image at Scripps College with the mountain backdrop.

At Scripps College, we’re all about green. From the olive trees and sprawling lawns to the gowns our students wear at commencement, green is not only a color we surround ourselves with, but it is a conservational goal. In recent years, the College has been making strides toward achieving this goal by implementing energy-saving technology in Scripps facilities, planting native and drought resistant plants on the grounds, and composting, donating, and growing food on campus. When you support sustainability as part of The Scripps Fund, you ensure that Scripps continues to be able to make decisions around campus with the environment at the forefront of our minds.

In recent years, Scripps has renovated several campus buildings for increased energy efficiency. In addition to the construction of Nan Elizabeth Walsh Schow Hall, Scripps’ first LEED Gold standard building, the Scripps Facilities Department has been upgrading the Toll, Dorsey, and Browning residence halls, insulating the buildings to maintain internal temperatures, upgrading lighting fixtures with LED bulbs, and installing HVAC high-efficiency systems for heating with individual room controls. “If you just implement small changes for sustainability in campus buildings, you save tremendously,” says Garrett Solomon, operations manager for Scripps’ Facilities Department. “By installing low flow toilets, LED lights, and building controls, we reduced utility costs by twenty percent.” In addition to the upgrades to the residence halls, Scripps has implemented MelRock technology in all campus buildings to manage energy consumption. As a result of these upgrades, the 2017–18 school year saw a 4.5% decrease in energy usage from 2016­­­–17, and the College saved a total of $238,439 from energy reduction, allowing the facilities department to continue installing technology that will reduce Scripps’ carbon footprint.

Scripps is also deploying sustainable landscaping to cut down on water usage. “All plants at Schow Hall are native, drought tolerant, and/or edible,” says Joya Salas, Scripps’ landscape operations manager. “Last summer, during Toll Hall’s renovation, we installed a mix of plants from the classic Scripps pallet with a number of drought resistant, native, habitat-friendly species.” To further conserve water, the grounds department replaced the turf on Scripps’ larger lawns with a drought resistant Bermuda grass variety that goes dormant in the winter and requires significantly less water to maintain. This initiative, coupled with water-saving technology included in campus buildings, saved over one million gallons of water in the 2017–18 academic year.

Scripps is also taking a more sustainable approach to food on campus. Last year, Malott Commons started pre- and post-consumer composting, diverting 14.6 tons of food from the landfill in a period of just three months. Additionally, the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a student-run organization, has been delivering excess dining hall food to two local organizations that aid women in reestablishing themselves. “We deliver the food to House of Ruth, a home for battered women and children, and Crossroads, a six-month program for previously incarcerated women that helps them find work and housing,” says Alexi Butts ’20, chapter president of the FRN. “I think these two communities are truly in line with Scripps’ values.” Last spring, delivering just two days a week, the FRN was able to bring more than 1,200 lbs. of food to these organizations, according to Butts.

In an effort to shift toward a more sustainable model in sourcing food, Salas is partnering with Garrick Hisamoto, general manager at Malott Dining Commons, to bring hydroponic grow towers to Scripps. These grow towers allow the dining hall to grow fresh vegetables on campus, offset the cost of purchasing greens, and decrease the carbon footprint involved in transporting food. In the future, Salas hopes to add 8–20 more towers to the Scripps campus, but she needs funding to purchase the towers and maintain the service that installs the seedlings and harvests the greens for the dining hall.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that institutions like Scripps model sustainable practices. In recent years, gifts to The Scripps Fund have helped provide the technology and materials to reduce energy and water consumption and more responsibly manage the way we consume and dispose of food, but there is more to be done. When you support sustainability at the College, you provide the resources for our community to create a future that is a brilliant shade of Scripps green.

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