The Michigan State University campus is one of the biggest, greenest campuses in the country — and it's getting greener every day.
Spartan faculty, staff, and students work together to meet the university's growing energy needs while reducing negative impacts on the environment, lowering operational costs, and ensuring plentiful resources for future generations.
In 2011–12, Spartans made significant progress toward MSU's ultimate goal of 100 percent renewable energy.
Energy in digestion
MSU is pursuing a new source of renewable energy that turns waste created on campus into electricity. The anaerobic digester project leveraged research, operations, and students to develop a business plan for a commercial scale digester on campus that will produce 0.5 megawatts of the 61.4 megawatts of campus electrical demand.
The new digester processes waste from campus dining halls and farms, which is then heated at high temperatures to produce methane gas. The gas generates electricity to power buildings on south campus.
Some campus dining halls are keeping the digester well fed, with Brody Square Dining Hall diverting 30,000 pounds of pulped food waste between July 2011 and April 2012.
Greening the nation’s supply chain
MSU’s David Closs, chairperson of the Department of Supply Chain Management, traveled to the White House in March 2012, to discuss ways of making the nation’s supply chain more sustainable with about 50 experts from the government, business, nonprofit and academic sectors. This dialogue was the first step in a government effort that ultimately could lead to new policies that guide supply chain operations and environmental practices.
Closs notes that in addition to being environmentally friendly, a sustainable supply chain also should include ethical practices, knowledgeable workers, and good economics.
MSU’s supply chain programs—ranked No. 1 for undergraduate and No. 2 for graduate by U.S. News & World Report—are known for focusing on the entire supply chain, from commodity raw materials to the point the product is consumed, as well as the recycling process.