Sustainability office encourages students to help environment

Casey Bleuel photo: As Sustainability Office director, Brittany Prischak encourages the campus to go green.Casey Bleuel photo: As Sustainability Office director, Brittany Prischak encourages the campus to go green.

Since becoming the director of the Sustainability Office in 2010, Brittany Prischak has made an impact on green initiatives at Mercyhurst.

Prischak’s goals for the office are to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly university.

One goal is to remove paper towel dispensers and replace them with high-efficiency hand dryers which cuts down on energy.

In addition to helping the environment, this program is also estimated to save Mercyhurst $15,000 per year. Installation is expected to take four to five years, Prischak said.

Prischak added that not all the Sustainability Office’s goals are financially-oriented. Other goals include recycling, creating bicycle lanes, introducing reusable cafeteria containers and increasing the number of campus Evive stations which give students clean water to fill water bottles, reducing plastic waste, among others.

“Some are not cost savings, like our composting program, but we do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Prischak said.

Prischak has worked with The Green Team to create a more eco-friendly campus. The Green Team, founded in 2000, is a student organization dedicated to eco-friendly initiatives. In 2006, Cathy Pedler, an archaeology feild instructor, headed the Sustainability Office until Prischak took over.

The Sustainability Office’s efforts are intended for the good of the community and future generations.

“…Essentially, we want to decrease our contribution to climate change,” Prischak said. “Most of the projects we are working on decrease the waste sent to the landfill and increase recycling.”

Prischak and the Sustainability Office plan to continue creating a more eco-friendly campus by increasing bike safety on campus by adding bike racks and lanes, LEED-certified Green Buildings, permeable parking lots to help manage storm water, and installing a Rain Garden to allow runoff water to be absorbed.

Prischak encouraged students to support the green initiative by interning in the office, working on sustainability projects for classes, volunteering or participating.

To raise awareness, students can like them on Facebook at the Mercyhurst Office for Sustainability page, Prischak said.

Students can also contact Brittany Prischak at if they would like to find out more information about the Sustainability Office or raising awareness.