Green Seminary News

Enjoy this album from our recent Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education:  Implications for Teaching, Learning and Seminary Life.

The Symposium is part of the Seminary Environmental Leadership Initiative, which is funded through a grant from the Luce Fund for Theological Education, an initiative of the Henry Luce Foundation’s Theology Program.




EMU/EMS were into sustainability before it was “trendy.” Their concern and care for the environment springs from their Mennonite history, which has deep ties to farming and simple living. The earth is a gift; and EMU/EMS seek to protect their share.

An impressive array of green initiatives come out of EMU/EMS’s theological commitments. There is a solar panel instillation on the roof of the Hartzler Library, which was the largest in Virginia when it was installed in 2010.  The university students live in Leed certified dorms—the most recent of which is certified gold. The buildings are all energy efficient. Key to EMU's green initiatives is their efforts to make greening cost effective as part of good financial stewardship. 

At the seminary students and staff have access to a mug rack on which they can hang their personal mugs for consuming hot or cold beverages. Plastic reusable plates are brought out for community meals, instead of paper.  Compostible items from the university's cafeteria are used to nurture the campus’ garden; and the produce from the gardens goes back into the food for community members. University  recycling is picked up weekly by bicycle.

Creation care reaches into the curriculum of the theology classroom where students have access to courses that address the conversation between biblical texts, theology, and ecology. Dr. Dorothy Jean Weaver, Professor of New Testamant has co-taught a seminary course called "Creation Care in Scripture and Church," which is divided into two sections: the first is bible study and the second discusses the ourworking of biblical teaching about the earth in the Church.

Students who are impassioned in the classroom are invited to join a Creation Care Council, which oversees the university's green initiatives and holds the school accountable to their Mennonite Heritage. The council’s subcommittees address concerns of recycling, transportation, curriculum, and more.

Join us in celebrating the vibrant community at Eastern Mennonite University/Eastern Mennonite Seminary and their commitment to the care of the earth. The Green Seminaries Initiative seeks more stories like this one to share on our website. Please to tell us about your school’s innovative green initiatives.