Skip to main content

Sharing Our Sustainability Story


by Rebecca Watson ’15 CLAS

The AFREC has recognized Villanova University’s Liesel Schwarz and Charles Coe, PhD, for a presentation they made this past spring as part of the AFREC Sustainability Leadership Council Speaker Series and Roundtable. AFREC—the Alternative Fuels Renewable Energies Council— is a private, industry-driven alliance which invites leaders in the field of sustainability to convene quarterly to network and discuss the economics and development of corporate and government sustainability programs.

Coe and Schwarz’s presentation detailed the University’s recent achievements and continued efforts in making the school a pioneer in sustainability, including the LEED certification of three buildings (bringing the total to five) and the instillation of hydration stations and ionized water cleaning technology on campus. AFREC commended Villanova’s commitment to sustainability, noting that Villanova’s advancements “help accelerate the commercialization of advanced energy, technology, and sustainability.”

Dr. Coe is a research associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering. His work is focused on the development and promotion of alternative energy sources. Liesel Schwarz, the University’s sustainability manager, seeks to actively transform Villanova into a more sustainable environment by working with staff and students on projects and initiatives. Schwarz and Coe both recognize the importance not only of implementing sustainable practices and programs, but also of teaching the next generation about new practices and the economic benefits of sustainable living.

Already home to the Villanova Center for the Advancement of Sustainability in Engineering (VCASE), in 2010, the College of Engineering established a Sustainable Engineering graduate program, one of the first of its kind in the country. Led by Mr. William Lorenz, Villanova’s program employs a whole-systems approach to problem-solving through a life-cycle lens. It offers students a practical approach to current and future real-life situations, calling on them to evaluate and solve problems that companies around the world are facing.

These campus-wide programs and initiatives demonstrate the University’s commitment to a healthy community lifestyle where Villanovans can socially and intellectually flourish. Recognized nationally for this commitment, the University has been named one of the nation’s greenest colleges by the Princeton Review and Sierra Club.