Departmental Initiatives

In order for Luther to become sustainable, everyone on campus must do their part in changing behaviors and systems in their daily lives. Luckily, the fantastic students, faculty, and staff on campus have taken this charge seriously and are working hard to improve their respective departments. Below you will find links to pages on exactly what different departments on campus are doing.

Alumni and Development Office

Rather than sending out paper invites, the office is now sending out invitations via email. This saves lots of paper and postage.


Luther's tennis teams have been selling or donating the used balls to schools, dog lovers, and rest homes instead of throwing them away. This makes for happy kids/pets as well as being good for the environment!


  • Luther student-faculty research team monitoring Dry Run Creek water quality
    DECORAH, Iowa – On an early June day, Jodi Enos-Berlage, Ph.D., Luther College professor of biology, and two Luther students are checking on the health of Dry Run and Twin Springs creeks, dropping probes in the water and taking water samples.
  • Biology 2010 Summer Interns created a 5-mile Luther Walking Trail

Book Shop

  • A new addition is the compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for sale. When exchanged for an incandescent bulb, the average CFL will save nearly $40 in energy costs over the course of its life
  • The bookshop has a wide assemblage of merchandise made with recycled products such as highlighters, frames, bracelets, and notebooks. Other merchandise includes BPA-free water bottles, and glass cups (preferring glass over plastic). As well, fair trade products such as Zulu grass bracelets and Minga scarves.
  • Every year the Book Shop gives graduating seniors their cap and gown. This year, with support from Jostens, more sustainable gowns will be distributed. The gown is made from fabric fiber from wood sourced from renewable managed forests and is proven to decompose in soil within a year.  The coil zipper is made with tape and teeth that are made from 100% recycled PET. In addition, these gowns come with a code that students can enter to have Jostens donate $1 to an environmental sustainability project. Additional information can be found online.

Dining Services

This page contains sustainability-related initiatives from all of Dining Services such as Marty's Cyber Cafe to the Cafeteria. In an effort to act sustainably, Dining Services has reduced water usage, and waste, as well as chosen local foods, and fair trade coffee.

Document Center

Paper Purchasing Policy: Luther College Document Center, Book Shop, and all offices and departments now must purchase and use 50% post-consumer paper when using white, 8.5 x 11 inch, 20# copier paper.

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies placed labeled recycling bins, and vermicompost in the hallway near their offices. Professors are responsible for emptying out trash and recyclables into the bins in the hallway in order to gauge how much waste is being generated within the offices. It is a neat way to show students that Luther's waste stream is being reevaluated. The department is working together to figure out some type of model for "garbology" that could be replicated in other offices on campus.

In order to get ready for Family Weekend, the Alumni and Development office has now posted a copy of the weekend schedule online. In past years 3,200 copies of the schedule were mailed to all students, faculty, and staff. In 2010, 300 copies were printed and distributed to family members during Family Weekend saving 2,900 pieces of paper and over $250!

Facilities Services

Facilities workers display their commitment to sustainability through many projects on campus, from green cleaning to biodiesel production and everything in between. They are also instrumental in the implementation of numerous other projects on campus.

Financial Aid Office

Discontinued sending out paper departmental monthly budget reports for work study.  They are exploring a way to send these out electronically instead. 

Library Information Services

This page contains sustainability-related information and suggestions within the scope of the LIS department. Get detailed energy saving tips and other information for computers, monitors, video projectors, printing, network and servers, recycling, and more.

Music Department

Next year the music department will be sending out a postcard, rather than a 3-fold full color brochure about Christmas at Luther. This will save money on postage and also all resources involved with printing that type of publication. They will also be taking reservations online, rather than through paper form.


The Alumni Magazine switched to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper, and the next edition will be 50% postconsumer waste.

Publications started emailing folks the e-Card at Christmas (we've done this now for the last three years) so that the President's Office and Admissions Office were able to cut their Christmas card printing numbers down considerably.

2006-Admissions printed 24,000 Christmas cards and envelopes; President’s Office printed 4,000 Christmas cards and envelopes

2009-Admissions printed 10,500; President’s Office printed 1500 

Now it is possible to retrieve electronic letterheads through Publications. Electronic letterheads are available due to a demand to send electronic letters without wasting paper. Departments on campus are already using this letterhead, and if requested, other departments can supplement it.

Public Information

The Tuesday has gone completely digital. The Public Information office will no longer distribute hard copies.

To subscribe online and type in your email address under "Subscribe to Tuesday" in the left column of the page. For help subscribing, contact Julie Shockey.

Residence Life

As a residential college, Luther has made promoting sustainability in the daily lives of students crucial to campus life. Take a look at some of the ways students and the Residence Life Department are incorporating sustainability to every day life.