Monday, July 30, 2007

SMU invests in two electric trucks; campus works to lessen environmental impact

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has purchased two electric trucks for use by its Department of Maintenance. Two extended-length SUV Neighborhood Electric Vehicles have recently arrived on the Winona campus.

These vehicles, made by Columbia, can reach 25 miles per hour and run an average of 30-40 miles per charge. At one charge per week, the university is confident these new purchases will save money as well as lessen the university’s impact on the environment. These electric vehicles cost an average of 2 cents per mile, are much quieter, and emit no pollutants. They are replacing a vehicle that cost approximately 20 cents per mile in fuel.

A few other universities have tried electric vehicles and found them economical to operate and environmentally friendly.

John Schollmeier, director of the physical plant, said he has been looking to purchase electric work vehicles for the past few years, but had not been able to find the right vehicle at a local dealer that could maintain and service the vehicles. The Columbia trucks were purchased from Honda Motorwërks in La Crosse, Wis., and cost approximately $12,450 apiece. Funding for this project came from a reallocation of maintenance funds.

“It is my hope to eventually change out all of the current maintenance vehicles for either electric or biodiesel vehicles,” Schollmeier said.

This is just one way that the university is continuing to “go green” in the 2007-08 school year.

With money from the Student Senate, the university will purchase a Flying F Bio-Fuels complete biodiesel production system as early as this spring. This system allows the operator to process, wash and dry raw vegetable oil into quality finished fuel — up to 80 gallons per week. Cooking oil from the university will be reused to create fuel. The cost of this system is estimated at $9,000.

The university — which has been active in the Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt-a-River programs — is also using more compact fluorescent light bulbs, and has recently replaced cooling units and the dining room refrigeration systems with more efficient equipment. Additionally, an Outdoor Leadership Office will be established on the Winona campus this fall, and the university has partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide.

Last spring the Student Senate passed a resolution stating the university should be an “ethical leader in the movement for environmental sustainability.” The resolution cited community support for the principles and practice of energy efficiency, waste and consumption reduction, alternative building designs, and use of renewable energy resources.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

SMU Chancellor to speak in New York

WINONA, Minn. — Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, Ph.D., chancellor of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, will present “Doing it Right in a Shrinking World: The Balance of Ethics and Profit” at the 2007 Ethics Conference.

The conference, presented by the Foundation for Accounting Education, will be held Tuesday, July 31, in New York. Conference topics will explore the world of business ethics, where religion, ethical codes and historical perspectives are challenged.

DeThomasis who also serves as a senior fellow for the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at SMU, will discuss a new “sense” of business ethics in a globalized world. The golden rule, religious tenants, and a code of ethics are no longer effective in our culturally diverse and complicated modern-day business world. The presentation will explore a modern-day definition of business ethics, where religion, ethical codes, philosophy, and historical perspectives are brought into question.

DeThomasis will address the relationship of global dynamics in financial networks, the role of business in “doing good,” and the question of “Who should do ethics: businesses or the people”? Last, he will discuss the importance of imagination and the role of faith as they relate to doing ethics in today’s rapidly changing and pluralistic economy.

SMU cross-country teams to host fund-raiser race

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University cross-country teams are hosting a fund-raiser race — the SMU Trail Scamper — Saturday, July 28, through the trails of Saint Mary’s Winona campus. The 4-mile run/walk will begin at 9 a.m., and registration opens at 7:30 a.m. at Saint Yon’s Hall. For directions, stop at the information booth at the main entrance.

Registration is $18 or $15 before July 21. The challenging but beautiful course includes hills and follows grass and cross-country dirt trails.

All participants will receive T-shirts. Awards will be given to the top overall male and female competitors and the top three runners in each age category for both male and female. Age categories are: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and older.

For more information, call Ward Berndt at (507) 457-6614 or go to