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Green Projects

In addition to carbon reduction, Hollins has initiated several projects which promote sustainable practices. These include our campus-wide recycling program, trayless dining, sustainability pledge, and the purchase of green cleaning products. We also have several green student projects which are in their fledgling stage. These projects include: the development of a community garden, a bicycle co-op, and vermicomposting of food waste.

Hollins students assisted with the installation of solar panels at the Dana Science Building, April 2011. This is Hollins' first photovoltaic array, and the green power it generates will reduce the amount of non-green energy the university purchases. The solar panels were made possible by a grant from The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources. Slideshow »

Listen Hollins Director of Public Relations Jeff Hodges reports on the installation of the solar panels.


Recycling at Hollins

In the fall of 2006, Hollins University partnered with Roanoke County to establish the first county recycling site. Prior to this partnership, Hollins collected only mixed paper for recycling and the county had no recycling program. The partnership allowed Hollins to begin to recycle aluminum, newspaper, and #1 and #2 plastic in addition to the mixed paper program. Residents of Roanoke County are encouraged to bring their recycling to the collection bins on the Hollins campus for disposal.

To highlight recycling on campus, Hollins holds an annual "Battle of the Bins" contest at the beginning of every academic year. Students, staff, faculty, and others join together to paint the recycling bins with their own imaginative designs. Bins are judged and the top three designs win small cash prizes. The Battle of the Bins has promoted recycling on campus, created a sense of community around recycling, and the campus declares itself a recycling community with individually designed and painted recycling bins in every building. Video »

E-Waste Recycling

Electronic waste is becoming a mounting global problem. In the United States alone there are over 500 million obsolete computers, 130 million cell phones which are thrown away each year, as well as millions of other unwanted electronic devices (TV's, printers, faxes, etc…). When thrown away, these electronic devices can leak toxic chemicals (e.g. lead, cadmium) into the environment. Eighty percent of the e-waste that is recycled is sent overseas to developing countries where impoverished workers, including children, work in unsafe conditions smashing leaded glass tubes, breathing lead solder fumes and melting plastics with toxic flame retardants. Many of these toxic compounds are then dumped into rivers or piled into mountains of e-waste scrap.

In order to address this growing problem, Hollins hosted and carried out three-day statewide recycling events in 2007 and 2008 to encourage Virginians to properly recycle their old electronic devices. That effort resulted in the collection of 831,579 pounds of e-waste at the Hollins University campus and three other Virginia universities (University of Richmond, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion University). On its own, Hollins far surpassed its original goal of collecting 200,000 pounds of e-waste by collecting 367,259 pounds (44% of the total). The e-waste that was collected was sent to MeTech Corporation in Massachusetts where the valuable materials were harvested and recycled in safe conditions.

Hollins provided businesses, schools, and households in western Virginia the opportunity to recycle their old computers, televisions, cell phones, and other electronic devices at no cost during the second annual Hollins E-Waste Recycling Event.

Green Cleaning Products

On the recommendation of the Environmental Advisory Board, Hollins University instituted a policy of purchasing only Green Seal Certified Cleaning Products® whenever possible. Green Seal evaluates products based on a "life-cycle approach to ensure that all significant environmental impacts of a product are considered, from raw materials extraction through manufacturing to use and disposal." Use of certified products thereby reduces toxic pollution, conserves resources and habitats, and protects the health of service staff. Since the fall of 2007, all cleaning products with the exception of our bathroom disinfectants are green seal certified. We see this purchasing policy as a direct outcome of our institutional commitment to promote sustainable practices.

Reference: http://www.greenseal.org/certification/standards.cfm

Cleaning products used on campus:

Cleaning Activity Product Name Company
General cleanser Stride Citrus HC Neutral Cleaner**
Alpha HP Multi-Surface Cleaner**
Johnson Wax Professional
Washroom care Crew: Bathroom cleaner and scale remover** Johnson Wax Professional
Glass cleaner Glance: Non-ammoniated glass cleaner** Johnson Wax Professional
Floor care Stride Citrus Neutral Cleaner**
Freedom SC floor stripper for waxing**
Johnson Wax Professional
Bathroom handsoaps Reliable GM Green Choice Luxury Handwash** Reliable Brand Co.
Disinfectant Alpha HP Bathroom Disinfectant and Cleaner** Johnson Wax Professional
** Green Seal Certification


Sustainable Initiatives / Practices / Accomplishments

Campus Sustainability Efforts (by category)

Dining Services

  1. Initiated 'trayless' dining in the cafeteria (fall 2009)
  2. Adapted the dishwasher in Moody dining hall so that we save several thousands of gallons of water annually from entering the sewer system (summer 2009)
  3. Incorporated biodegradable/recyclable dishes into catering practices and dining room take-out (2010)
  4. Contracting with local vendor for composting from cafeteria (2010)
  5. Purchasing approximately 20% local products with a focus on seasonal fare (as of 2011)
  6. Composting food waste (2011)
  7. Discontinued the use of paper soufflé cups, wrapped straws in resident dining and toothpicks (2011)
  8. Recycle cooking oil into biodiesel fuel (2012)
  9. Defined local foods as 250 mi radius (2012)
  10. Composting about 17.5 tons of food waste per year; pre-consumer and post-consumer (2012)
  11. Serving Homestead Creamery Milk (2012)
  12. Utilizing foods/herbs grown from the Community Gardens (2012)
  13. Created student internship position (2013)
  14. Established Student Board of Directors (2014)

Buildings & Grounds

  1. Replaced incandescent bulbs with compact florescent (ongoing since 1990’s)
  2. Replaced toilets and showers with low flow options (ongoing since 1990’s)
  3. Started incorporating recycled paper products (2000), and replacing custodial chemical products with green seal approved products (2003)
  4. Incorporated golf carts into university fleet for use by maintenance, information technology, etc. (2002)
  5. Installed front-loading washing machines (2005)
  6. Placed 108 acres in conservation easement (2006)
  7. Installed an energy efficient summer boiler system and upgraded controls and burners on existing boilers to more efficient models (February 2007)
  8. Established policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Standard or equivalent (May 2007)
  9. Replaced old window air conditioners with energy efficient units (July 2008)
  10. Established policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Standard or equivalent (May 2007)
  11. Adopted an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such rating exist (May 2007)
  12. Replaced old window air conditions with energy efficient units (July 2008)
  13. Completed energy audit on Dana, Tinker, West (fall 2009)
  14. Installed system to capture rainwater from the roof of Turner for the purposes of watering Beale Garden (2009)
  15. Installed daylight sensors in classrooms of and first floor hallways of Dana Science Building using student 'green fee' funds matched by money from the university (2010)
  16. Renovations to Alumnae Cottage include geo-thermal wells and other sustainable processes in an effort to qualify for LEED certification (fall 2010)
  17. Installed energy meters in 13 academic buildings and residence halls to monitor energy use (summer 2010). You can view usage month by month here.
  18. Completing an inventory of all lighting, appliances and technology in buildings on campus to better understand electricity usage (fall 2010)
  19. Planted new trees on Front Quad (summer 2009), and on Back Quad using inaugural student green fee (spring 2010)
  20. Installed system to capture rainwater from the roof of Turner for the purposes of watering Beale Garden (2009)
  21. Installed irrigation systems with rain sensors to eliminate unnecessary sprinkler use (2010)
  22. Developed plans for greenhouse to support the campus community garden using student 'green fee' funds (2011)
  23. Renovated Rose Hill including geo-thermal wells and other sustainable processes (2011)
  24. Worked with Roanoke Greenways to develop a portion of Tinker Creek Greenway on Hollins' property across I-81 (2011)
  25. Received LEED certification for renovations to Alumnae Cottage guest housing (2011)
  26. Replace approximately 250 feet of underground steam and condensate between Moody Hall and Boiler Plant, resulting in less make up water loss due to leaking pipes and more efficient steam transfer (2012)
  27. Installed 44 geothermal wells to replace HVAC system at Tinker Residence Hall (2012)
  28. Conducted an energy audit of Barbee guest housing (2013)
  29. Installed geothermal at Rose Hill and Rath Haus (2013)

Information Technology

  1. Moved to default double-sided multi-function printers (October 2006)
  2. Developed a Computer Power Savings Policy to reduce unnecessary power consumption (spring 2009)
  3. Installed new energy efficient copiers (fall 2009)
  4. Upgraded monitors, desktop and laptop computers to more energy efficient ones (fall 2010)
  5. Consolidated 40 physical servers to 4 virtual servers, replaced physical mainframe phone switch into two rack servers and classroom tube televisions with flat screen energy star (2013)
  6. Established 'pay for print' policy (2013)


  1. Created Environmental Studies major (2005)
  2. Created an Environmental Advisory Board at Hollins (June 2006)
  3. Included environmental and cultural sustainability as a priorities in strategic plan (March 2006)
  4. Signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (2007)
  5. Completed Hollins’ carbon footprint for academic years 2006-07 (2007)
  6. Developed a carbon model which will be used to evaluate carbon reduction initiatives (2007)
  7. Developed and endorsed a Strategic Plan for Carbon Neutrality recommending a target date for carbon neutrality of 2040 and 15% reduction of greenhouse gases over the next five years with an annual goal of 3% (May 2009)
  8. Revised campus policies (purchasing, travel and entertainment, and car rental) to include references to institutional commitment sustainability (spring 2009)
  9. Named a winner of one of the inaugural "Cool Citizens Awards," presented by the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and companies that have had the greatest impact toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. (2009)
  10. • Received three-year grant from Jessie Ball duPont Fund to working with Emory & Henry College to hire a shared energy manager to assess patterns of energy consumption and develop a plan to help us reduce consumption and raise awareness on campus (2010)
  11. Implemented new processes in HR and Business Office in order to reduce use of paper and envelopes and mailing costs and began paperless billing system for students (2010)
  12. Recognized by Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada (2011, 2012, 2014)
  13. Made an institutional commitment to reduce the use of plastic bottles on campus by replacing vending machine and snack bar options with glass and using tap water in coolers with recyclable cups for large events when feasible (2012)
  14. Established a Green Revolving Fund to implement urgent/cost-effective energy conservation projects (2013)
  15. Committed to renewable energy initiative and the purchase of landfill gas that will offset carbon footprint (2013)
  16. Exceeded target goal of 15% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2014 with 17.8% reduction achieved (2013)
  17. Preliminary numbers suggest we are down more than 10% from 2013. We should realize a 25% overall reduction since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007. Our original goal was a 15% reduction by 2014


  1. Initiated community garden (spring 2005)
  2. Produced directory of green businesses in Roanoke Valley (2006)
  3. Initiated Green Fee that will add $5 per semester for all students beginning fall 2009. Funds will be used to support efforts toward a more environmentally-friendly campus (spring 2009)
  4. Kicked-off campus initiative to reduce the use of plastic water bottles. Metal water bottle campaign coordinated in conjunction by SEA (Students for Environmental Action) (spring 2010)


  1. Developed energy conservation guidelines for the campus to demonstrate institutional commitment and encourage campus and individual participation in reductions (January 2006)
  2. Created energy awareness with “Turn out the Light” signs placed above light switches around campus (2007)
  3. Incorporated sustainability information and activities into first-year orientation events (2008, 2009)
  4. Hosted Green Roundtable – monthly lunchtime discussions open to campus community (2009-2010)
  5. Hosted environmental speakers including Nobel Prize winner Susan Solomon as part of women in science conference (March 2009); author Barbara Kingsolver in conjunction with RAIL Solution (May 2006); author/economist, Brian Czech, and author/professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College, David Orr as part of Sowell Lecture Series (September 2006); activist/author Vandana Shiva (April 2005)
  6. Developed annual sustainability pledge for students and employees (2009)
  7. Awarded $30,000 from Dominion Foundation to install photovoltaic system as a teaching array to help faculty and students better understand the benefits of solar energy on campus (2011)
  8. Summer reading for first-year students featured, Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver who will speak at Hollins in September (2014)


  1. Developed campus and neighborhood recycling program with Roanoke County (2005)
  2. Hosted Ewaste community recycling events (2007, 2008). 400,000 lbs of Ewaste was collected from the Roanoke community at the Hollins site with a total of 800,000 lbs statewide in 2007
  3. Created student supported recycling program on campus (2007)
  4. Student Affairs led coordinated effort for recycling/donating materials when students move out for the summer (2009)
  5. Participated in Recyclemania, a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities (spring 2009 and 2010)
  6. Hosted regional glass recycling event resulting in institutional support of glass recycling (2010)
  7. Initiated office supply recycling program for exchanging unused items. Leftovers are donated to Free Store for students to use (summer 2010)
  8. Student Affairs led coordinated effort for recycling/donating materials when students move out for the summer (2009)
  9. Provide cardboard and glass recycling options (2010)


Community GARDEN

Sprouting from a student thesis in 2005, the Hollins Community Garden continues to engage students and faculty in creating a unique place for education and inspiration. The production of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers brings a sense of accomplishment and responsibility that grows into environmental awareness and commitment to something larger. As a gathering place for study, poetry and music, or simply a solitary retreat in the hammock, the community garden is a creative space for growing food and cultivating minds. Video »