Environmental Stewardship Tours

Sustainability Coordinator Chris Bair ’97 is free to take students or student groups on tours highlighting the college's sustainability efforts. Each tour takes about an hour and can be scheduled by emailing Chris.

Campus Energy Tour

This tour is an introduction to campus energy at the level of input, distribution, and consumption as well as a discussion of the efficiencies and inefficiencies with regard to the following:

Tour stops include:

  • Electrical switchgear near the tennis courts (this is where campus is connected to the grid and where the wind turbines would be connected to campus)
  • Boiler plant (generates steam for the heating of buildings and water)
  • Natatorium (geothermal heating and cooling, CO2 monitoring, white reflective roof)
  • Underground tunnel (a look at how chilled water and steam is pumped throughout campus)
  • Chiller plant (generates chilled water for air-conditioning and refrigeration)
  • Forum as an example of energy inefficiencies (glass, high ceilings, older heating and cooling system)
  • Preschool as an example of energy efficiencies (geothermal heating and cooling, daylighting, spray foam insulation, solar PV, heat recovery)

Campus Waste Tour

This tour looks at the various types of waste streams on campus, how they are collected, and where they go once they leave campus.

Tour stops include:

  • Recycling bin (What can be recycled through the bin system, and what can be recycled elsewhere)
  • Curbside (how Facilities Management collects and hauls trash and recycling)
  • City recycling center (how the city bales the recycling and ships it to a sorting center) [virtual]
  • County transfer station (Where campus trash is delivered, and subsequently hauled from to the regional landfill) [virtual]
  • Greenstar Recycling in Des Moines (How the baled recycling is sorted and shipped to various markets) [virtual]
  • Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center (A look at the foodwaste pulper, and how FM hauls the food waste, as well as the used cooking oil dumpster)
  • McDonough farm (Where the foodwaste is composted)

Water Tour

From rain showers to aquifers, and toilets to boilers, campus receives and disposes of water in many ways. This tour will take a quick look into how water travels through campus, what happens to it while it is here, and where it ends up.

Tour stops include:

  • Ward Field parking lot (How much precipitation falls on campus and where does it go?)
  • Boiler plant reverse osmosis machine (Where does our potable water come from and what happens after it goes down the drain?)
  • Football field (Where do we irrigate on campus and what are we doing to reduce the use of groundwater?)

Greenspace Tour

How the College manages greenspace has implications for stormwater, chemical usage, fuel consumption, and wildlife.

Tour stops include:

  • Athletic fields
  • Prairie areas
  • Native and non-native species planting areas on campus