Sustainability University Efforts

at Saint Francis University

  • Green Torvian

    What is SFU doing?

    Saint Francis University engages in several university-wide efforts to promote sustainability. Here are just a few ways in which our University is looking towards the future!

  • Small Wind Turbine

    Wind Turbine

    In the fall of 2009, a 2.5 kw wind turbine was constructed on campus atop the hill behind Stokes Athletics Center. The electricity generated is used for a building on campus. The machine is an example of the kind that could be used to significantly reduce the electricity costs for a home or small business. 

    “We try to follow the example of the love for our environment that was shown by our patron, Saint Francis of Assisi,” said University President Gabriel Zeis, at the turbine's blessing and dedication. “The wind turbine will serve as another visible reminder of our mission to be good stewards, in this case a steward of energy resources.”

    Turbine Statistics

    • Height: 120 feet
    • Rotor diameter: 3.6 meters
    • Electrical capacity: 2.5 kW
    • Minimum wind to operate: 6 mph
    • Average wind speed at site: 12.2 mph
    • Constructed/Dedicated: October 2009
    • Manufacturer: Abundant Renewable Energy, of Newberg, Ore (since purchased by XZERES CORPORATION of Wilsonville,Ore)
    • Installer: North Coast Energy Systems of Erie, PA
    • Funders: U.S. Department of Energy and the University 
    • Power generated by the wind turbine is used in the John P. Murtha Telehealth Research Center building. 
    • On the distant hilltops viewable from the base of the turbine, the commercial turbines of the Allegheny Ridge Farm are visible.

  • Recycling


    Collecting recyclable items is an important issue on campus. Most classrooms and offices have paper collection and in many hallways one will find collection bins.  A number of items are also accepted at the large community recycling bins located in the lower JFK parking lot.

    What Can I Recycle and Where?


    • Paper
      • University stationery/high grade office paper
      • Computer printer paper
      • Colored paper (office grade)
      • Adding machine tapes and blueprint paper
      • Envelopes, with or without windows
      • Shredded paper of types listed above

        - Notes: Remove all paper clips and rubber bands before placing in proper bin. Place newspapers in designated boxes, not the office paper bins.Recycle at SFU- Where: blue bins in offices, classrooms, hallways, JFK parking lot collection center

    • Corrugated Cardboard
      • Any corrugated box except pizza boxes

        - Notes: Place next to any recycling or trash bin for collection
        - Where: JFK parking lotRecycling at SFU

    • Plastics
      • Any #1 or #2 plastic container (includes food and beverage plastics, as well as personal hygiene products, laundry detergent containers, household cleaner containers)

        - Notes: Empty, rinse (if possible) and place in proper bin.  Caps and rings are okay on #2 bottles. Do not include plastic Solo cups, margarine tubs, or any #2 plastic containers whose necks are not narrower than the container’s middle. These are made of a slightly different #2 plastic that will degrade the end product.
        - Where: blue bins in hallways and at JFK parking lot collection center

    • Aluminum/Metal Cans
      • All metal beverage and food cans (includes soup cans)

        - Notes: Empty and rinse containers and place in proper bin
        - Where: blue bins in hallways and at JFK parking lot collection center

    • Newspapers and Magazines

                 - Where: JFK parking lot collection center


    What not to Recycle ?


    • Glossy paper
    •  Pizza boxes
    • Aerosol or hazardous cans
    • Glass (of any kind)
    • #3, #4,#5,#6, or #7 plastics
    • Styrofoam (of any kind)
    • Plastic pipe, plant containers, packing material
    While these items are not collected for recycling on campus, some items may be collected elsewhere.  


    What Happens After You Place Your Recyclables in a Collection Container?

    The custodial staff will collect the material from the containers and transport it to the campus collection site in the JFK parking lot.

    It is imperative that you place your recyclables in the proper containers. Custodial staff are not permitted to sort recyclables deposited in incorrect bins. One Styrofoam takeout box or half-empty coffee cup could contaminate the entire bin, undoing the good deeds of others. Contaminated batches will be thrown out with regular trash (landfilled) and not recycled.

    The History of Recycling at Saint Francis University

    Saint Francis University implemented a recycling program on July 1, 1991 designed to reduce landfill waste and demonstrate Franciscan stewardship of our environment. The student-led Environmental Action Society (EAS) is the campus’s oldest environmental organization and a longstanding advocate of recycling. Today, we need everyone’s help to make this program successful.

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps

    Albedo Roof and Geothermal Systems DiSepio Institute and Christian HallChristian Hall and the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness, two buildings on campus, feature geothermal heating and cooling systems that reduce the amount of pollution emissions that would be generated from traditional heating sources.   

    Albedo Roof on the DiSepio Institute

    The albedo (white) roof reflects solar light to reduce the amount of heat that the DiSepio Institute receives.

  • Dining

    Eco Steps DiningWe care about each other and our world. The footprint we leave for today will change how we live tomorrow. Our EcoSteps is designed to reduce and reuse that footprint. Our EcoSteps are “Our Steps to Sustainability”. To continually expand our role as a socially responsible university while providing exceptional hospitality to all of our guests. Our focus on sustainability EcoSteps have been developed in order to establish local responsibility standards, including a continual focus on environmental issues. The EcoStep’s logo highlights items that are part of our sustainability program (recycled paper, rBGH-free milk, Sustainable Seafood, etc.). The mission of EcoSteps is to continually expand our role to-be-as socially responsible as possible while providing exceptional hospitality experiences to all of our guests.

    Torvian Dining Hall also offers a trayless option to reduce the amount of items needing washed and reduce the amount of food that is wasted. Take out can also be green if you option to use a "eco-clam shell" instead of a Styrofoam shell. Fresh, local produce and milk are served when possible.

  • Lake St. Francis Watershed Nature Trail

    Watershed TrailLocated on campus, this 1.5 mile path winds though a variety of different nature habitats on campus. The trail was designed to provide access to the University's quieter, more natural areas and to increase knowledge of our local ecology. In addition to its recreational use, the trail and surrounding ecosystem are used by the Biology Department and other members of the campus and local community as a site to conduct scientific research and to promote environmental education. The trail is open to use by all members of the community.

  • University Green Recognitions

    Read about SFU's green initiatives in the February 2010 edition of Penn Lines, published by the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association