Alumni Connection Helps Make Green Initiative a Success
february 10, 2010

 

Pettit Atrium
Director of Purchasing Greg Wolfe and Jeff Bliss '87

With environmental sustainability at the forefront of Stonehill's objectives, the College recently donated furniture from its Merkert-Tracy Science Center to Community Care Services, a non-profit corporation that provides social care services to people throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The project was part of a large-scale recycling plan implemented by Stonehill and W.B. Mason last year in preparation for several relocation projects at the College.

The Merkert-Tracy Science Center, built in 1949, is undergoing renovations in anticipation of one of the relocations which will bring the Advancement Division, Human Resources and some departments within the Finance Division to the building. Its previous inhabitants, the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology, are now housed in the Shields Science Center.

At the start of the planning process for the moves, Director of Purchasing Greg Wolfe reached out to the College's Account Executive at W.B. Mason's Brockton branch, Jeff Bliss '87, who works with Wolfe to coordinate the College's furniture and office supplies program.

"Jeff is aware of our commitment to sustainability, having heard me preach ‘how can we re-use this?' every time we discuss furniture. I knew we could come up with a plan to minimize our carbon footprint with the furniture portion of these renovations," notes Wolfe. "In the end, Jeff took our sustainability goals to the next level."

"As we began the first part of the process, moving out the existing furniture from the Merkert-Tracy Science Center, the easiest thing we could have done was park dumpsters outside and toss everything in but we knew that would be irresponsible, and not in sync with the College's green initiatives," says Bliss (right), who immediately thought of a perfect way to avoid filling a dumpster.

"I got in touch with Michael Rielly '69, who is the Purchasing Director at Community Care Services, a long-time client of W.B. Mason. I called to see if he could use some of the furniture and he was thrilled with the idea," recalls Bliss. The timing couldn't have been better as Community Care Services recently announced its expansion into Connecticut.

On behalf of the College, Bliss and W.B. Mason coordinated the transport of the majority of the old furniture the College would no longer have use for, and it will now be used to furnish Community Care's brand new Therapeutic Foster Care Clinic in Hartford, Connecticut. Thomas Fisher '71, the President and CEO of Community Care, is also an alumnus of the College.

In addition to donating items to Community Care, lab cabinetry and other materials were given to Merrimac College, Bristol Community College, and Anna Maria College. All steel parts, pieces, and components were separated and 6,127 pounds of steel was transported to a steel recycling facility in Brockton as well, according to Bliss.

"We transported just over 17,000 pounds of remaining product to the Trojan Recycling Facility, where they sifted through and sorted all refuse for proper recycling. In fact, nothing from the Merkert-Tracy Science Center went to a landfill," says Bliss.

In other recent relocation projects, Bliss notes that existing furniture and components were reconfigured to work in new spaces as W.B. Mason donated design and space planning services to the College. "These efforts not only saved money, but also prevented the equivalent of eight truckloads of furnishings from going into dumpsters," says Bliss.

To support this ongoing initiative, W.B. Mason is maintaining a storage trailer on campus which houses used furniture inventory. The inventory is accessed weekly by W.B. Mason to quickly and economically address the office needs of the College.

"Our commitment to sustainability starts from the initial design of a project where Roger Goode, the College's Associate Vice-President for Operations, emphasizes sustainable building practices and operational maintenance, and we look at each step in the process to find areas we can improve," says Wolfe.

"Our alumni and contracted professionals are partners in this process and we work with them to reduce any negative impact the operations of the College may have on the environment. We consider this part of our mission and we take that commitment seriously."

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