Sustainability

From the moment you arrive at NMH, you will be struck by the beauty of the forests, fields and river that surround the campus. Our sustainability program is a multi-faceted approach to maintaining the integrity of these natural resources. We empower students to explore, understand, and protect the environment, beginning with orientation programs and continuing throughout the curriculum. Our graduates are conscientious, motivated, and active citizens of a changing world.

Awareness of and care for the environment are among the fundamental values that guide NMH policy formation. Our initiatives include:
 
  • Task Force for Sustainability: a group of students, administrators, staff and faculty that meet weekly and advise the head of school on sustainability issues.
     
  • Green Cup Challenge: a national contest among more than 100 public and private schools that was founded by NMH, Lawrenceville, and Phillips Exeter with the goal of reducing electricity consumption and educating school communities about their carbon footprints.
     
  • Ecoleaders: a group of dedicated students who coordinate campus sustainability initiatives, including worm composting, recycling, Sustainable Scribbles (notebooks made of reused paper and sold around campus), a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, bluebird house installation, and sustainability in the new student orientations.
     
  • NMH GreenSale: At the end of each school year, gently used office supplies and dorm items (lamps, binders, trash bins, etc.) are collected, stored, and sold to students in the fall for reuse.
     
  • Farmers’ Market Teach-In: NMH dedicates a full class day to exploring the agriculture and land use of the Pioneer Valley. Farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other local experts spend the day working with students to enhance understanding of where food and other resources come from.
     
  • Auditing: NMH’s sustainability practices are guided by in-depth, school-wide sustainability audits completed in 2007 and 2010.
     
  • Curriculum: Sustainability issues run throughout the classroom experience, beginning with the freshman humanities curriculum’s “environmental perspectives” theme.
     
  • Green Dorm: Each year, one dorm is selected to follow environmentally conscious guiding principles (recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, green product use) and to monitor dorm-wide performance.
     
  • Dining Services: NMH was one of the first schools to go tray-less in order to cut down on food waste. At least 15 percent of school food purchases are local, organic or fair-trade certified. All organic waste from the dining hall is composted.
     
  • NMH Farm: Students gain work experience and a biological understanding of crops and livestock on the NMH Farm.
     
  • New Student Orientation: Outdoor adventures and an introduction to campus resources are key features in our programs for new freshmen and sophomores.
     
  • Outdoor Education: Students may select from a wide array of outdoor programs—sailing, rock climbing, mountain biking and whitewater canoeing, among others—to satisfy NMH’s physical education requirement.
     
  • Facilities
    • LEED Certification: Both the Rhodes Arts Center and Bolger House (admission) are gold LEED® certified, representing excellence in energy and water efficiency and sustainable building.
    • Green Cleaning: NMH uses primarily citrus-based cleaning products for regular cleaning on campus.
    • Recycling: A unified system of recycling, monitored by student Ecoleaders, ensures that plastic, glass and paper are diverted from landfills.
    • STEM Learning Lab: NMH is participating in a federally funded solar electric education project, with two campus solar arrays used as teaching tools in the physics curriculum.
    • Electric Vehicle Charging Station: Community members and visitors may use the station in the Alumni Hall parking lot. A ChargePoint card or credit card with smart chip is required. This project was made possible by the generosity of a trustee, and through Massachusetts' incentive programs.