Messiah University is a nationally-recognized private liberal and applied arts university in the northeastern U.S. with 3,300 students from 41 states and 24 countries. Rooted in Pennsylvania’s agriculturally-rich Cumberland Valley, Messiah places an extraordinary emphasis on “green” practices. Their eco focus is visible throughout the University and it even features a department dedicated to the movement. Messiah is one of only four Christian universities in the United States to offer a bachelor of arts in sustainability studies.
However, at Messiah University, sustainability is not just a movement. It is a commitment to a way of life.
More than 50 years ago, before “going green” was something cool, before Earth Day was included on calendars, and before sustainable living was considered important, Messiah was educating students about environmental stewardship and ethics. The University’s student-led environmental movement, Earthkeepers, and the start of campus wide recycling were both born from the popular “Humankind and the Environment” course.
That was just the beginning of Messiah’s ongoing commitment to caring for our earth. Now, environmental stewardship efforts at the University include a robust recycling program, an organic community garden, a student-led composting program as well as an active restoration of the on-campus Yellow Breeches Creek.
Messiah’s commitment to sustainability is also evident in the day-to-day operations at Messiah Press. It is the department mission is to support the initiatives of the University including and especially the critical work of serving as champions for our environment. Seeking new ways to innovate in 2016, Messiah Press was one of the first in-plants in the nation to collaborate with PrintReleaf. Since then, that partnership has resulted in the reforestation of nearly 2,000 trees in 5 different countries.
How the University decides which reforesting project they will support is another example of Messiah Press’s efforts to bolster campus-wide sustainability initiatives. Each year in the fall, the department takes part in an annual sustainability festival. It is during this festival that students and employees get their chance to vote on where the next year’s Print Releaf reforestation project will occur.
By implementing Print Releaf, adding chemistry-free plate making technology, and assisting the campus in multiple sustainability initiatives including recycling, serving on the sustainability committee, and helping with the annual sustainability festival, Messiah Press earned the 2017 ACUP Impression Award for Green Service. This award honored our work and was an honor to receive.