Sustainability in Action

Our History

San Antonio River, College Grove Photo

The University of the Incarnate Word is located adjacent to the Headwaters at Incarnate Word, a 53-acre nature sanctuary that is home to the Blue Hole, the source spring of the San Antonio River.

The university, as an extension of the life-changing work of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, has a history stretching back into the nineteenth century of tying together social and environmental justice with education.

What We're Doing Now

The Solar House

What structure is built with no poured concrete? Has zero daily energy consumption and is ADA compliant? Has a Butterfly Roof to allow for maximum capture for rainwater and a Helical Pier Foundation System to minimize the disturbance of native soils? It’s the University of the Incarnate Word’s LEED Platinum-certified Solar House! Find out more about at the Solar House homepage.

Community Gardens

UIW has two community gardens on UIW’s main campus: the 650-square-foot Gorman Garden, located on the west side of the Gorman Building, and the 200-square-foot Bonilla Garden, adjacent to Bonilla Hall. Each garden is planted and maintained year-round by students, faculty, and staff, and we have an open-harvest policy, so anyone is welcome to harvest ripe fruits and vegetables anytime.

We also support other community gardens at schools, community centers, and nonprofits in the San Antonio community.

Join us for garden workdays or stop by to see what’s growing! To find out more, follow us on Facebook or contact us at sustainability@uiwtx.edu.

EcoExchangeEdu

UIW students Torissa Martinez and Kristin Gonzalez present at the EcoExchangeEdu Sustainability Showcase
UIW students Torissa Martinez and Kristin Gonzalez present at the EcoExchangeEdu Sustainability Showcase.

EcoExchangeEdu (EEE) is a group of South Texas college and university students, faculty, staff, and administrators, who gather to share ideas about sustainability on our campuses. From 2015 through 2019, EEE hosted an annual showcase in April, and its 4th showcase, “Greening San Antonio: Beyond 300” (Friday, April 6, 2018), was an official event of the San Antonio tricentennial. Like EEE on Facebook.

Earth Month

The Earth Month Committee organizes the annual UIW Earth Fair, an event that showcases a variety of resources related to environmental and ecological stewardship. The Earth Fair features educational booths sponsored by local non-profits and businesses with sustainability initiatives, as well as by UIW student organizations and programs or departments.

The William Mulcahy Award for Ecological Stewardship is also presented at the annual Earth Fair. The William Mulcahy Award for Ecological Stewardship was created in 2007 in recognition of grounds superintendent Bill Mulcahy’s leadership in ecological conservation and care of the land at the University of the Incarnate Word. Each year nominations are submitted to the Earth Month Committee, which selects two nominees to receive this award, one faculty member and one staff member.

Previous Award Winners Include

  • 2020: Dr. Ben Miele and Daniel Potter
  • 2019: Dr. Kevin Salfen and Phil Lopes
  • 2018: Dr. Christopher Edelman and Ruben Garza
  • 2017: David Pryor and Mary Jinks
  • 2016: Dr. Matthias Schubnell
  • 2015: Dr. Alison Whittemore
  • 2014: Dr. Patricia Lieveld
  • 2013: Dr. Bonnie McCormick
  • 2012: Sr. Helena Monahan (who accepted the award on behalf of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word)
  • 2011: Ms. Adela Gott
  • 2010: Dr. Sally Said
  • 2009: Ben McPherson
  • 2008: Dr. Bob Connelly 
Dr. Heather Barton-Weston presents the 2019 Mulcahy Award to Mr. Phil Lopes and Dr. Kevin Salfen
Dr. Heather Barton-Weston presents the 2019 Mulcahy Award to Mr. Phil Lopes and Dr. Kevin Salfen.

STARS

STARS is the premier self-assessment tool for sustainability in higher education. In 2018 UIW began the process of STARS self-assessment. Stay tuned for further developments!

Recent Successes

UIW students Andrea Del Valle Soriana and Diana Mireles present at the 2019 national conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in Spokane, Washington
UIW students Andrea Del Valle Soriana and Diana Mireles present at the 2019 national conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in Spokane, Washington.

UIW was recipient of the 2017 Climate Leadership Award given by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and ecoAmerica’s Solution Generation program.

UIW is a proud member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). UIW was also a sponsor of the 2017 AASHE national conference, held in San Antonio. UIW students and faculty have presented at AASHE conferences, most recently at the 2019 conference in Spokane, Washington.

UIW was honored to host the 2017 College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) workshop and the 2018 POCACITO (Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow) workshop.

UIW participates in CPS’s Demand-Response program, enabling significant reduction in energy usage, cost savings, and rebates.

UIW has installed reusable water bottle stations throughout campus, and has special recycling for CFL light bulbs, small electronics, ink cartridges, batteries, and laptop computers.