Concordia University Wisconsin moved to its Mequon campus, with 2700 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan, in 1983. For twenty-two years, an average of one foot per year slumped off its 130 foot bluff into Lake Michigan. This process awakened Concordia to the importance of its environment.
Completion of its Bluff Stabilization Project (2007), after eight years of planning, gathering funds, and actual work, brought with it the realization that this lakeshore environment should be shared with elementary and secondary students in the metropolitan area. This was particularly feasible because Concordia could add Environmental Education to its already strong Teacher Education program.
Groundbreaking for the Concordia Center for Environmental Stewardship took place on July 14, 2009. This 13,000 square foot, two-story building overlooking the Lake Michigan bluff will provide classrooms, laboratories, meeting spaces, and offices both for environment-focused academic programs and learning opportunities for pre-college students. The CCES is designed to be a state-of-the-art environmental learning center. LEED certification will be sought.
Not only will this facility provide space for undergraduate and graduate Environmental Education degree-granting programs, but will also house an Environmental Science program which will qualify graduates to work in environmentally-related jobs and to continue into graduate programs in Environmental Science or.
Access to Lake Michigan's shoreline is easy, both by stairs and by a paved path that meets ADA standards.
"Concordia Green" was the name of the university's first initiative to encourage responsible stewardship of the resources with which God has blessed us in this world. President Patrick Ferry has asked the members of the Concordia community to raise their awareness of environmental and resource issues facing the university and its community. The first effort of "Concordia Green" was to update and publicize its recycling policy, so that a greater number of community members participate in that program. In 2008, Concordia moved to a "single stream" recycling program that enables recyclable materials to be co-mingled, transported in a single load to the recycling plant, where materials are separated. This process reduces transportation costs and carbon-emissions.
Concordia Green was soon joined by a student organization, "Project Eden," which helped to broaden interests beyond recycling.
In 2009 a new structure was put in place at Dr. Ferry's instigation. The Creation Stewardship Council is to give oversight to all of CUW's sustainability efforts. Its three sub-committees are empowered to work on specific emphases: Awareness/Learning/Publicity, Energy/Water Use/Land Use, and Food/Purchasing/ Waste.
Concordia holds institutional membership in the following organizations in support of its environmental sustainability efforts:
AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education)
APPA (Association of Physical Plant Administrators)
NACUBO (National Association of College and University Business Officers)
SCUP (School, College, and University Planning)