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Profile: Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center

Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2010

Santa Clara’s Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center affords students, faculty and staff the chance to balance out rigorous mental workouts with physical ones. The 45,000 square foot space, hosting a weight room, multipurpose studio, basketball courts and an outdoor aquatic facility, was definitely a factor when Santa Clara was named one of the “Fittest Colleges in America” by Men’s Fitness Magazine in October 2006. But Campus Recreation and the Malley staff may be just as committed to sustainability as they are to your fitness.

Janice DeMonsi, Director of Recreation at Santa Clara, decided that Malley was “going green” at the beginning of the 2008-2009 academic year. That fall, DeMonsi made a major push to limit the gym’s paper use. Part of the effort included eliminating paper information sheets for intramural and fitness programs and instead posting reference material to the campus recreation web site. “With the web site, and with most students having access to a computer, it just seemed to make more sense to push it [online],” said DeMonsi.

New computer software at the facility’s front desk also cut down on the use of non-recyclable carbon copy paper for purchases and liability waivers. Student workers can now digitally recall visitors’ information to eliminate redundant paperwork or duplicate forms. DeMonsi also encourages her student staff to recycle scrap paper whenever possible. “It’s probably the biggest thing we’ve done overall as a program,” said Demonsi in reference to the crackdown on paper waste.

The Malley Center is also plays a role in the university’s sustainable energy goals. Its roof is currently being populated with solar panels as part of a new one-megawatt solar array scheduled to be operational in the coming weeks (check next month’s Sustainability Update for the full story). Inside, the Hayden gymnasium – with three full courts – uses natural lighting from a bank of north-facing windows and only uses overhead lights when participants ask for them to be on. “We know that people do not use the courts first thing in the morning,” said DeMonsi. “It seemed wasteful to have the lights on over an empty court.”

Outside at the Sullivan Aquatic Center, lifeguards cover the 50-meter by 25-yard pool every night with insulated tarps to retain heat in the water and cut down on energy costs during the night. Lifeguards also control the overhead lights at the new outdoor complex by switch as opposed to timer so that lifeguards can illuminate the deck and pool basin only when the gates are open.

Several recent updates also seek to limit wastefulness. Dual-flush toilets in the women’s restrooms (see this month’s Did You Know) give the option to limit water use per flush. Motion sensors in a vending machine area “wake up” a bank of beverage and snack dispensers only when people walk in the room. A new high-efficiency washing machine that replaced an older unit earlier this year uses less water and detergent.

DeMonsi hopes to build on the Malley Center’s efforts with several projects in the future. Motion-sensing lights in storage spaces in closets are at the top of her wish list. The director is also aiming to further limit paper consumption by posting student employment forms online and using digital signatures to process required paperwork. “A lot of recreation centers are moving to a lot of stuff online for their staff training,” said DeMonsi.

To learn more about the Malley Center and Campus Recreation, visit their web site at

By Christopher Woodhouse, ’10, Sustainability Intern

Tags: Buildings and Grounds, Campus Operations, Energy, Profiles



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