Growing and Green in Ferrum, Virginia
John W. Dysart
The Dysart Group, Inc.
Ferrum College in Virginia has experienced huge growth under the leadership of Dr. Jennifer Braaten. She implemented a new admission and financial aid plan in 2004 and students really responded. In just the last four years:
• Admission applications have increased by 89%.
• New student enrollments have increased by 82%.
• Total undergraduate enrollment has increased by 45%.
• Ferrum College has expanded its geographic reach by attracting students from eighteen states and five countries.
Enrollment growth has necessitated corresponding expansion of other programs and services on campus. New sports have been added to provide more athletic opportunities. Cocurricular offerings have been increased to meet the needs of students outside of the classroom. The College has dramatically increased the number of students living on campus and has built three new residence halls in the last three years to accommodate the growth.
The College administration has not lost sight of the environment during this period of unprecedented growth. To begin with, trays have been eliminated in the cafeteria. There are a number of environmental benefits from this change:
• Studies indicate that eliminating trays reduces food waste by as much as 50%.
• Energy consumption can be lessened when trays are no longer used.
• The College will use less water as a result of the change.
The institution is also transitioning to replace plastic with biodegradable goods in the cafeteria. The plan is to have 90% of the paper products biodegradable this year.
Cleaning products in the cafeteria have been switched. The College reports that 90% of the chemicals now used are environmentally friendly. The institution is even considering a composting program.
New HVAC units have been installed on campus.
The green initiative has also extended to the building of the newest residence facility, Margaret M. Clark Hall.
• The residence hall has ENERGY STAR certifications.
• Motion sensors have been installed to adjust climate control when rooms are vacant.
• Energy efficient light bulbs and plumbing have been installed.
• The College used environmentally friendly paint in the new building, along with installing carpet made from recycled fibers.
Ferrum College is home to the second oldest Environmental Science program in the country. Sensitivity to environmental issues comes naturally!