SANFORD — Central Carolina Community College has been named one of six national winners in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2011 Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus competition.
The Chill Out award recognizes U.S. schools that are designing and implementing innovative approaches to advance sustainability on campuses, reduce their carbon footprints, and educate people about Earth-friendly practices and materials in agriculture, energy production, construction, and other areas.
“Central Carolina Community College is nicknamed ‘Green Central’ for its long-term commitment to and leadership in green education and innovation,” said CCCC President Bud Marchant. “We are honored by this recognition by the National Wildlife Foundation of the work we are doing at CCCC in promoting and demonstrating sustainability.”
The accomplishments of CCCC and the other five winners will be shown in an April 13 Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus
webcast at the NWF’s web site, www.nwf.org/campusecology/chillout/
. The winners will also receive a monetary award from the NWF to continue exploring innovative clean energy and climate action initiatives.
According to the National Wildlife Foundation, the nation’s 4,100 college’s and universities represent about 2 percent of the nation’s carbon footprint — as large as an average state — and educate 19 million future world leaders each year. This makes them ideal places for innovation to spark a clean energy revolution and produce green jobs for the U.S.
As part of a commitment to sustainability Central Carolina Community College’s green programs use natural, renewable, and environmentally friendly resources and methods that are efficient and effective. Green programs educate approximately 150 students per year in sustainable agriculture, natural chef culinary, sustainability technologies, renewable energy, biofuels, and green building/weatherization.
The programs are integrated in creative ways. For example, oil seed grown at the student farm at the college’s Chatham Campus, in Pittsboro, is processed by the biofuels students into cooking oil for the culinary program. The used oil is returned to the biofuels program for processing into biofuel that is used to run the equipment at the farm. The culinary program operates a café that offers lunch menus created from crops grown by the student farm and local organic farmers.
The sustainable agriculture program, which currently enrolls 65 students, has a strong entrepreneurial focus, encouraging and preparing the farmers of the future. Graduates also promote and advance sustainability in agriculture and local food initiatives through natural food co-ops, restaurants, and farmers’ markets.
The Chatham Campus also hosts sustainable education public events during the year, such as the upcoming April 21 Earth Day, featuring the Chill Out video and a presentation by Fred Royal, Chatham County director of Environmental Resources; and the April 30 Let’s Talk Trash! event with Chatham County Waste Management.
In partnership with Chatham County, a joint county-college library and a Sustainable Technology Center have been built at the Chatham Campus. Both are certified at high Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Both the buildings and programs are active sustainability learning laboratories for the students, staff and faculty, and the community.
“Sustainability issues cut across all employment sectors,” said Laura Lauffer, the college’s sustainability coordinator. “For example, some of our sustainability technologies students will seek employment in renewable energy companies and the construction field, while some may enter advocacy positions or work in local governments. Our program offers a broad range of technical, policy and community based solutions to air, water, soil and energy issues faced each day.”
Dr. Karen Allen, the college’s provost for Chatham County, said the sustainability students are excited about learning, living and working green.
“Our students take the sustainability skills learned on campus directly into the communities in which they live,” she said. “They positively affect the personal, community and economic development of our region.”
Other winning schools in the competition are: Eastern Mennonite University, of Harrisonburg, Va.; Baylor University, of Waco, Texas; Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School, New York, N.Y.; Missouri University of Science & Technology, of Rolla, Mo.; and Montreat College, Montreat, N.C.
“The passion that comes from these students, faculty and staff for a sustainable world invigorates the rest of society to continue the fight towards a clean energy economy,” says Jen Fournelle, NWF Chill Out manager. “Chill Out is an incredible learning opportunity for campus leaders to see what others are doing and initiate positive changes in their own community.”
Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus is supported by The Kendeda Fund, and other partners including Climate Counts, AASHE, Energy Action Coalition, Jobs for the Future, Campus Conservation Nationals, Earth Day Network, and others.
National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program has been an integral leader in the campus greening movement since 1989. In the last two decades, it has built a library of campus-tailored resources to help thousands of students, faculty and staff at more than one-third of all colleges and universities in crafting programs, incentives, curricula and best practices.