College News

CCCC achieves Silver STARS ranking

CCCC achieves Silver STARS ranking

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Central Carolina Community College has earned a Silver ranking from the STARS program of the Assoc ... (more)

CCCC achieves Silver STARS ranking

click to enlarge ⊗

Central Carolina Community College has earned a Silver ranking from the STARS program of the Assoc ... (more)

08.16.2011College GeneralFacilities/Buildings

PITTSBORO - Central Carolina Community College has earned a Silver ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for its achievements in sustainability.

Only 61 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada earned a Silver ranking.

"Central Carolina Community College is known as 'Green Central' for its leadership in sustainable education and commitment to the environment," said CCCC President Bud Marchant. "We are pleased to have achieved the Silver ranking in our first year of membership in the AASHE. We look on this accomplishment as the foundation for our continuing efforts to make our programs, equipment, facilities and campuses models for sustainability education and environmentally sound practices."

The Silver ranking is based on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) developed by AASHE. It was the first national effort to encourage sustainability practices at institutions of higher education.

In the letter notifying CCCC of its ranking, the AASHE STARS Team described CCCC's earning a Silver ranking as "an impressive achievement." The college will receive a certificate from AASHE recognizing the accomplishment.

STARS enables colleges and universities to do a self-evaluation and score themselves on sustainability-related criteria set by the association. The criteria include Education & Research; Operations; Planning, Administration & Engagement; and Innovation. Points are earned based on how well the institution has met specific requirements within each criterion. Point totals place a college's ranking at the Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum level.

CCCC received an overall score of 45.24, earning it a Silver ranking. The ranking is valid for three years.

No community college in the nation earned a gold ranking and Haywood Community College was the only other North Carolina community college to receive a Silver ranking. A total of 22 four-year colleges and universities achieved Gold ranking, including Appalachian State University, Duke University, Elon University, North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UNC-Greensboro.

CCCC Sustainability Coordinator Laura Lauffer said that North Carolina's government has a strong commitment to sustainability, creating policies that the college followed in areas such as energy use and procurement to improve its sustainability.

"The STARS program offered the college a tool to track our achievements," she said. "While focusing on the environment in some areas, STARS also addresses programs, policies and procedures. We will use the STARS report to guide improvements and continue our excellent achievement in many areas, especially sustainability offerings throughout our college departments.

In 2010, CCCC joined two higher education leadership groups working to measure sustainability elements on campus. It was the first North Carolina community college to become a signatory to AASHE's STARS rating system.

The college also signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which addresses global warming through institutional commitments to end or neutralize their greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide.

CCCC has been a leader in its focus on sustainability, both in programs and on its campuses, Marchant said. It has had a Green Central Team Conservation and Sustainability Committee since 2007.

In 2010, the college and Chatham County opened three new buildings constructed to the high energy efficiency standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. The Siler City Center met the council's Gold level standard in Leadership in Environment and Energy Design (LEED). The Sustainable Technologies Classroom Building and the Chatham Community Library, on the campus in Pittsboro, are expected to receive a Silver or higher rating.

The college began promoting green education back in 1996 with its first sustainable agriculture class. It now offers degrees in biofuels, sustainable agriculture and sustainable technologies, as well as certificate programs in green building and renewable energy/weatherization, ecotourism and Natural Chef culinary arts. The college also operates a state-of-the-art laboratory for weatherization crew training in advanced diagnostics and residential energy efficiency.

The college's full STARS report can be found at the AASHE web site, stars.aashe.org/institutions. (Click on "Central Carolina Community College.") For more information on CCCC sustainability programs, visit the college's website, www.cccc.edu/green/.

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