What is Sustainability?
By one definition, sustainability means "to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony and that permit fulfilling social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations." - United States Environmental Protection Agency
The HFC community works collaboratively to prepare learners to succeed in a global society and to serve the public good. Both of these claims include sustainability, conservation, recycling and materials management, environmental responsibility, and student education. We advance these goals through many campus-wide groups and individual efforts in our curricula, the Student Environmental Association, HFC Facilities Department, and Sustainable HFC, among others.
Founded in late 2017, Sustainable HFC welcomes HFC employees and students to meet monthly and address sustainability issues and projects. The group's goals are:
- Support a culture of environmental sustainability at HFC through social action, education, and service.
- Recommend and study ideas, policies, and initiatives for College governance.
- Educate the HFC community on sustainability movements and successes through College media resources, presentations, workshops, and partnerships.
- Celebrate and support individual and group efforts across the College.
- Welcome and encourage representation and insight from everyone who cares about sustainability. Learn and grow through different perspectives and experiences.
- Encourage service-learning education opportunities and leadership for students, staff, educators, and our broader community.
For meeting agendas, minutes, and more information please visit Sustainable HFC.
The Environmental Studies program focuses on sustainability
The Environmental Studies (Associate in Science) program emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problem-solving at the local, regional, and international levels. Students completing this program may transfer to bachelor's degree programs in at least four broad areas: land resources, nature studies, resource and policy management, and urban science.
How can students get involved?
We encourage students to become involved both formally and informally. Formally, you may join the Student Environmental Association or other student groups that address environmental awareness. Informally, there are many steps you can personally take to advance sustainability, beginning with simple steps to recycle and to use sustainable materials in your daily life.
Student Environmental Association
The Student Environmental Association promotes and provides programs relating to the environment. The club contributes to the understanding and appreciation of natural resources and wildlife and provides a forum to discuss environmental concerns.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
Henry Ford College has been a member of AASHE, a higher education sustainability hub, since 2018. All HFC students and staff can register for a free AASHE account and access AASHE resources via their HFC email account. The service also allows you to network with colleges and universities across the country.
Facilities Management Projects
The Facilities Services Department is focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship. Efforts include material management and recycling, storm water management practices, and more.
Facilities Material Management and Industrial Recycling
Recycling and hazardous materials managed in 2018:
- 6,139 light bulbs recycled.
- 705 pounds of alkaline batteries recycled.
- 1,342 pounds of lead acid batteries recycled.
- 65,540 pounds of scrap metal recycled.
- 690 gallons of used oil recycled.
- 60 gallons of anti-freeze recycled.
- 300 gallons of fuel oil recycled.
- Refrigerant housing items. HVAC students recover refrigerant from non-working items according to EPA guidelines. Properly tagged items are placed in a scrap dumpster for recycling.
- We host Wayne County’s annual Hazardous Household Waste Collection on campus. In 2017, this resulted in 183,567 pounds collected from more than 1,974 people. In 2018, the number was 252,553 lbs with 2,286 vehicles in attendance.
Materials collected included household paints, stains, dyes, floor care items, furniture polish, bathroom cleaners, lawn and garden chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline automotive batteries, dry cell batteries, propane tanks, old computers, printers, scanners, TV's, cell phones, fax machines mercury containing thermometers, thermostats and elemental mercury, fluorescent light bulbs (standard and compact), smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, Pharmaceutical Waste (Non-controlled substances), CRT televisions, and monitors.
The Facilities Service Department manages the College’s MS4 Storm Water Permit. The college’s storm water management plan ensures that all water that is discharged to the Rouge River from the College’s property is storm water and not sanitary water. The College employs best practices in housekeeping to ensure all storm water is as clean as possible before it is discharged to the Rouge River.
Some examples of Henry Ford College’s housekeeping practices include:
- Parking Lot and Street Sweeping - Conducted monthly from March to October and additionally as needed.
- Monthly Routine Good Housekeeping Inspections conducted by one of the three certified storm water operators on campus.
- Bi-yearly Comprehensive Good Housekeeping Inspections conducted by one of three certified storm water operators on campus.
- Main Campus and East Campus Detention Ponds are chemically treated by a certified chemical applicator to treat invasive plant species.
- The Vortex filtering system in parking lot #7 filters out and holds unwanted sediment from the parking lots, and is cleaned as necessary.
- Catch Basins are inspected during monthly inspections and are cleaned out as needed.
- Annually host a Rouge Rescue event on campus with Friends of the Rouge to remove invasive plant species and trash along the Rouge River behind the main campus.
HFC Sustainability Initiatives
Campus Hydration Stations
HFC has several hydration stations across campus where students and employees can refill their water bottles. This significantly reduces plastic waste. A single hydration station in the J building was used 7014 times in its first 10 months, representing 7014 plastic bottles that were never created.
Learn more about the beginnings of hydration stations at HFC.
Hydration station locations
There are currently 3 hydration stations on the HFC main campus. We plan to add more stations on main campus and east campus.
J Building (New Science): outside J-145 Wall unit with counter installed by the HFC Biology Department
E Building (Technology): outside E-175, between vending machines
Stand up unit provided by Total Vending
M Building (Student Center/Cafeteria): outside M-103 (Radio Station), next to vending machines.
Stand up unit provided by Total Vending
Paper and Plastic Recycling Program
As of January 2020, HFC is starting a paper and plastic recycling pilot. This pilot program will ensure long-lasting success by working out any operational kinks before expanding to other areas on both campuses. Success is dependent on every person in the HFC community conscientiously and knowledgeably recycling.
- The Pavilion in the Student & Culinary Arts Center (Bldg. M)
- The Skylight Café in the Student & Culinary Arts Center (Bldg. M)
- Putting non-recyclable materials (even well intentioned) into recycling bins can make an entire bin contents non-recyclable trash.
- All food and liquid must be dumped in landfill bin.
- Only clean paper and plastic materials can be recycled (e.g. no greasy pizza boxes).
- HFC does not yet recycle glass or aluminum so that should go in the landfill bin or be dropped in your at home curbside recycling if possible.
- When in doubt, throw it out (in the landfill bin) rather than contaminate the recycling.
Confidential Documents (Employees)
- HFC participates in the Shred-it shredding and recycling program
- Bins are located across campus, in various office spaces, mailrooms, etc.
- HFC saved 21.26 trees from destruction in 2018 (according to Shred-it).
- All confidential or sensitive documents must be placed in Shred-it bins.
HFC's 2nd annual Campus Sustainability Forum
Many initiatives to support sustainability are planned, and underway, at HFC. Learn how to participate, and get your ideas heard.
HFC pilots new paper and plastic recycling program
In HFC's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, a new recycling program is under way.
Sustainable HFC meetings open to the public
Please join us for Sustainable HFC meetings. The public is welcome! Jan. 29, Feb. 26, March 18, April 8.
A better future for the Detroit River and western Lake Erie
HFC biology professor is a member of the steering committee that plans biennial conference between the U.S. and Canada.