Green Campus

Lipscomb and Enterprise Rent-A-Car launch WeCar car-sharing program

Lipscomb University and WeCar, a car-sharing program by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have partnered to provide a cost-effective and convenient transportation solution to students, faculty and staff who enroll in the program. WeCar offers members access to two Toyota hybrid Priuses located at the southeast corner of University Park Drive, and at the northeast corner of Johnson Residence Hall.  

The WeCar car-sharing program provides the Lipscomb campus a totally automated, membership-based and environmentally friendly transportation solution, whether it is for an hour, a day, a weekend or longer. Convenient and cost-effective, WeCar vehicles are accessible around-the-clock and complemented by the extensive Enterprise Rent-A-Car neighborhood network of more than 5,000 branches, all located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.

The WeCar campus program is especially popular with students because it provides a solution to car rental age restrictions and to financial concerns associated with having a car on campus. For faculty and staff, the car-sharing program offers a cost-effective and convenient transportation alternative for both personal and business use. Furthermore, the program helps remove cars from the road and reduces pollution and traffic congestion, helping the university to cut overall emissions and enhance its sustainable operations.

”Lipscomb is reducing its carbon footprint with ground sourced heat pump systems in three campus buildings and with free access for students and employees to public transportation. New on-campus housing, bike racks and convenient parking spots for hybrid vehicles encourage no or low emission transportation,” said Dodd Galbreath, executive director of Lipscomb’s Institute for Sustainable Practice. “The WeCar program’s hybrid cars provide our students and staff with another reason to choose clean transportation in our community.”

Lipscomb University students (18 and older), faculty and staff are eligible for membership. Members have 24-hour access to the hybrid Priuses and can reserve them online at any time. Vehicles can be rented hourly, overnight or for a full day. WeCar allows members to maintain the benefits of a personal car while only paying for the vehicle when they use it.

Earlier this year, WeCar was introduced in downtown Nashville. The Nashville Downtown Partnership partnered with Enterprise and WeCar to place four car-sharing vehicles throughout the downtown area. Enterprise’s WeCar car-sharing program is also offered on several other college campuses across the nation.

“With WeCar, Lipscomb is providing a low-cost transportation opportunity to students, parents, faculty and staff,” said Ryan Johnson, assistant vice president of WeCar. “This is a great opportunity to expand our car sharing program from the Nashville downtown community and bring it to students and faculty who often face specific transportation challenges on university campuses.”  

Interested students, faculty and staff can sign up online now by clicking hereOr go to for more details on the company.

Students submit grant proposal for on-campus community garden

If three enthusiastic students get their way, Lipscomb University could have its own community garden planted on campus in the next couple of years.

Students Grace Biggs, a graduating law, justice & society major from Virginia; Allison Woods, a junior in multimedia production from Clinton, Miss.; and Caitlin Gallo, a junior English major from Nashville, have submitted a grant proposal to the Wal-Mart Foundation, through the Clinton Global Initiative, to establish a community garden on campus and partnerships with local nonprofits to distribute the food in needy areas of Nashville.

The grant proposal served as the SALT (Serving and Learning Together) capstone project for Biggs, who lives in North Nashville in a “food desert,” an urban, residential area where grocery stores with fresh produce and meats are not located within an easily accessible distance.

Nashville has three primary food deserts, Biggs said: North Nashville on Charlotte Avenue, East Nashville at the Casey Homes and the Edgehill area.

Biggs, Woods and Gallo have proposed that the university establish a community garden tended by volunteers, students, faculty and staff and  team up with the Mobile Loaves and Fishes Program of Woodmont Christian Church, to deliver the produce to food desert areas.

The students proposed linking care of the garden to the university’s service-learning program and to relevant academic courses.

“I would love for it to be linked to a Bible course,” Biggs said. “There are so many connections between the Bible and food. (The garden project is) designed to get people out of the bubble to go beyond episodic service.  A lot of SALT classes can be a life-changing experience.”

Biggs, Woods and Gallo attended the Clinton Global Initiative University in April 2010. They heard former President Clinton speak and learned about a vast array of student-led social justice and humanitarian projects going on throughout the nation, including other on-campus community gardens.

The purpose of the conference was to equip students to take action on or promote awareness of a specific issue, Biggs said. Attendees could then submit proposals to receive up to $10,000 for a project of their design.

“Our goal is to create a sustainable, organic garden, to expose the community to where our food comes from and to get students involved with other people off-campus,” said Woods. “We’re trying to get students interested in the world they live in.”

Biggs got interested in food and its impact on society this past summer when she worked at Heifer International Learning Center’s Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass. She worked in Heifer’s experiential education program on hunger and poverty issues, where she “learned how food can connect people across borders,” she said.

The community garden would be an effective learning project for Lipscomb students because they could see not only the problem, but also how they can have an impact on the problem, Biggs said.

University officials, with the help of a student in the sustainability graduate program, have tentatively scoped out a site for the garden near the softball and soccer fields on the west side of campus. Biggs and Woods rattle off a long list of vegetables they would love to grow: tomatoes, okra, peppers, onions, garlic, peas and lettuce.

A student interest meeting in the spring semester drew about 20 students interested in the project.

Establishing the community garden could lead to projects such as an on-campus farmer’s market for residential students or field trips for David Lipscomb Elementary School students, Woods said.

Science building garden transformed into sustainable outdoor classroom

The Department of Biology was hard at work in the summer and fall of 2009 transforming the McFarland Hall garden into a sustainable outdoor classroom to be used for classes at both the university and K-12 level.

Once complete, the revamped garden will feature:

  • A wide selection of sustainable native plants;
  • A “council ring” that seats up to 27 people;
  • An on-site composting system;
  • Interpretive stations;
  • Benches and bike racks; and
  • An advanced drip irrigation system with underground pipes, a rain sensor to prevent watering during rainstorms, and a roof-top water tank to capture rain water.

Currently, all the shrubs, trees and perennials have been planted, the irrigation pipes installed, the council ring constructed and the water tank installed, said Mary Sledge, associate professor of genetics and principles of biology.

“These students who have worked on the native garden are experiencing hands-on learning they can use as future homeowners,” Sledge said. “To restore native plants to the American landscape will require the education of our public, and there is no better way to do this than to model it right here on our own campus.”

In the future, Sledge hopes the native plants will thrive enough to supply a native plant sale for the community and to serve as a model for K-12 schools to establish their own native plant gardens.

Lipscomb's holiday is a little more green than red this year

Christmas 2008 on the Lipscomb campus was a little more green than red this year, as the university debuted power-saving LED lights at the annual Lighting of the Green on Dec. 2.

In addition, a batch of LED floodlights have also been purchased and were featured lighting every building on campus purple during February’s Alumni Weekend and lighting up the sports-themed tree at the Atlantic Sun Conference in March.

With 114,000 lights hung in the Allen Arena Mall (12,000 on the giant Christmas tree alone), Christmas lights can be a major expense. But last year the university expected to save up to $12,000 in energy costs by using the LED (light emitting diode) lights, said Don Johnson, director of facilities and associate director for sustainable facilities management.

“They are long-lasting. While regular lights last two to three seasons, these lights will last for 10-20 years,” Johnson said. “And they use 90 percent less power than conventional lights.”

In addition, the lights require less labor because when one bulb goes out, it does not make the whole strand go out. It takes a month and a half to hang all the Christmas lights on campus, so it saves a lot of time when workers no longer need to search hundreds of Christmas lights to find one blown-out bulb.

More green campus improvements at Lipscomb

  • Lipscomb University has installed energy-saving geothermal heating and cooling systems in all of its new construction since 2006. The $1.2 million geothermal system in the Ezell Center has produced tens of thousands of dollars in savings each year. Geothermal is also installed in the Village at Lipscomb residence halls, and the Burton Health Sciences Center, both beginning use this fall.
  • Both the Village and Ezell employ green housekeeping, advanced energy reduction strategies, bike racks to encourage use of alternative transportation, native plant landscaping, water conservation measures, storm water mitigation and advanced dark sky strategies (light pollution reduction).
  • Arlo's in the Bennett Campus Center offers students organic wraps and ice cream and cereal toppings. The campus bookstore offers office supplies with recycled content and Uncle Dave's convenience store offers organic snacks for sale.
  • Arlo's features tables and chairs made from old bicycle parts.
  • More than $200,000 was spent to raise standards in the academic labs, facilities and the energy plant on campus. The university has achieved pilot site status with the U.S. Environmental Protection Service.
  • Trayless dining has been instituted in the dining hall to decrease the amount of water used in washing trays as well as the amount of food students eat. Sodexo, Lipscomb's dining hall manager, has instituted an education campaign on nutrition and waste for students.
  • Lipscomb's newest parking garage is a multi-modal facility located adjacent to a metro bus stop. Lipscomb has joined the Metropolitan Transportation Department's Easy Pass program to offer free bus rides to anyone with a Lipscomb I.D. In addition, the tennis courts formerly on the site were replaced on the garage roof, reducing the site impacts and the campus footprint.
  • Mature trees on campus have been preserved and trees lost to last year’s drought have been replaced.
  • Lipscomb University has a campus wide recycling program of office products.
  • The facilities department has created its own design for a solar powered golf cart. The prototype cart went into operation in March 2008 and has not needed to be plugged up to an electrical source since that time. The department hopes to convert all the university’s golf carts to solar power.
  • The university provides a fleet of hybrid cars for employees to use for university business and reserved parking spots for hybrids outside of Burton Health Sciences Center.