Christian Colleges' Green Revolution
Flush twice. It's required at Calvin College's Vincent and Helen Bunker Interpretive Center's restrooms; once before, once after. The flushed water, which is the consistency of a bubble bath, washes waste to an underground room. There, preserve manager Cheryl Hoogewind and I climb up on a metal receptacle and look into a huge bin of waste that smells pleasantly of wood chips. This compost will eventually be spread as fertilizer on the college grounds.
Above us in the 5,000-square-foot building, a student-designed solar photovoltaic system generates electricity from sunlight; meanwhile, gray water from drinking fountains and sinks nourishes plants lining the classroom windowsills. It's all part of the Bunker Center's environmental sustainability.
Integrating creation care with academics is a growing emphasis on Christian campuses around the country. According to Paul Corts, president of the interdenominational Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), about 40 of 105 North American member schools have adopted significant green initiatives. These vary considerably, from multimillion-dollar sustainable "villages" and student volunteer educational programs to majors in environmental studies and recycling pop cans in school cafeterias. There is also national action.
Last November, 30 Christian college students met in Washington, D.C., to present elected officials with the Evangelical Youth Climate Initiative (EYCI), signed by 1,500 Christian students. EYCI is an independent effort of young evangelicals to follow up on last February's Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI), signed by 86 Christian leaders (including 39 Christian college presidents).
Amanda Benavides, a sophomore at Point Loma Nazarene University in San ...