Holy Cross Abbey: Reinhabiting Place (2010)

Client Organization: 
Holy Cross Abbey
Project Location : 
Berryville, Virginia
Summary of Project Idea: 

Like many religious communities, Holy Cross Abbey (HCA) in Berryville, Virginia, faces challenges including aging community members, declining vocations, and economic concerns. This project has two goals: 1. To recommend a range of implementable strategies and metrics to guide the HCA community toward physical, ecological, and financial sustainability. 2. To prepare an analysis and recommendations for dispersing information about the development of sustainable practices to other religious communities. To inform these recommendations, the Team conducted an in-depth assessment of the HCA community's property, businesses, behaviors, and land use management. Using information gained through research, surveys, comparative analyses, dialogue with the community, and field data collection, the Master's Project team developed recommendations which focus on HCA's buildings, land use, energy use, businesses, toxics/pollution, solid waste and recycling, and water use and supply.

Skills/Expertise Needed: 

An open mind, a systemic viewpoint and an ability to think big!  The potential for a monastery that connects environmental concerns to its central mission, values and religious beliefs to go green far exceeds that of any other kind of organization that is driven more by financial considerations.  And with the availability of funding on green issues so strong right now, and the novel nature of this project, there is reason to be optimistic that this project has great potential.  And when others see a monastery or other religious community connecting environmental issues to their spirituality, they will begin to do so as well.  With this kind of connection, great change is possible on a broader level.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Sustainable Systems
Landscape Architecture
Professional Career Development Benefits: 

An ability to develop a holistic plan for integrating green into an organization in all its facets.  This experience will be of value to any organization that may be considering such an endeavor.

Funding Sources: 

Funding sources are being pursued at this time.  The estimated initial cost for the project is $50,000.

Identify expected products/deliverables: 

A report to the Monastery and a published book.

SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Andrew Hoffman
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Kathryn Buckner, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Craig Cammarata, MPP/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Charlotte Coultrap-Bagg, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Alex Linkow, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Jessica Neafsey, MLA
  • Chris Stratman, MS Behavior, Education and Communication
Project Status: 
Past Project