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L&C Earns Prestigious National Green Genome Sustainability Award

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Article by: Louise Jett, ljett@lc.edu

GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College has been selected as the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED) Green Genome Overall Award winner.

“It is rewarding to receive national recognition from the official association representing more than 1,200 community colleges throughout America and its territories,” said Lewis and Clark Community College President Dale Chapman.

L&C is one of nine community colleges from across the nation awarded prizes for exemplary efforts to promote sustainability education, practices, programs and training. Two awardees were selected in each of four categories: Governance, Program Design and Delivery, Strategic Partnerships, and Community Engagement. In addition, Lewis and Clark was chosen as the overall winner and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

“Winning the overall achievement Green Genome Award is an honor and a validation of the college’s approach to campus sustainability,” L&C Sustainability Director Nate Keener said. “Our success wouldn't be possible without the hard work and support from people like Scott Moss, coordinator of Restoration Ecology, Dr. Dale Chapman, L&C president, the board of trustees, and of course, the student body.”

Keener credits the award, in part, to the efforts of L&C’s Restoration Ecology degree program, which works to protect the college’s own watershed by designing and installing projects on campus to restore vital ecosystem services, like the bioswales near Erickson Hall and in the cabin lot on L&C’s Godfrey campus.

The Restoration Ecology program also collaborates with nine local and regional industry partners to align curriculum with industry needs, and works with several local non-profit and government entities to generate other hands-on projects and workshops for students.

The prize money from the award will help purchase green roof materials for a visible roof area between two buildings on the Godfrey campus and native plants for the installation of an additional bioswale near a campus parking lot.

L&C is pursuing a 50-year Climate Action Plan goal of campus carbon neutrality by 2058. Toward that effort, it has installed more than 100 kw of solar at their Godfrey and National Great Rivers Research and Education Center campuses, implemented recycling and composting programs, installed native planted bioswales and rain gardens, instituted a student green commuting incentive program, installed campus energy dashboards and purchased a 100-percent renewable energy product via their utility, installed electric vehicle charging stations, completed large-scale indoor efficiency projects for lights and motors, and led community outreach programs about sustainability and solar power, among many others.

Over the last decade, Lewis and Clark has achieved reductions in electricity consumption and emissions and garnered local, state, regional and national recognition for its efforts. The college was the 2011 and 2013 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award winner, the 2014 Madison County Partnership for Community Health Care for Air Award winner, the 2015 and 2016 Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Awards winner, and the 2016 U.S. Green Building Council Missouri Gateway Chapter Growing Green Award winner.

The Green Genome awards are based on SEED’s The Community College Green Genome Framework: Integrating Sustainability and Clean Technology Workforce Development into the Institution’s DNA. This free tool for colleges details the Green Genome framework, paths for success, and offers profiles of previous winning colleges.

The colleges recognized for their achievements are: Lewis and Clark Community College, Illinois – Overall; College of Lake County, Illinois – Governance; Northeast Community College, Nebraska – Governance; Johnson County Community College, Kansas – Program Design and Delivery; Northeast Texas Community College, Texas – Program Design and Delivery; Chesapeake College, Minnesota – Strategic Partnerships; Guam Community College, Guam – Strategic Partnerships; Cedar Valley College, Texas – Community Engagement; and Lincoln Land Community College, Illinois – Community Engagement.

More than 480 community colleges representing more than 3 million students have joined AACC’s SEED Center, pledging leadership in sustainability education and training and reaping the benefits.

“Community colleges continue to take the lead on sustainability,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. “Whether developing cutting-edge training for green collar jobs or implementing green practices, sustainability efforts at community colleges benefit students, local business, and the community.”

AACC’s SEED Center and the Green Genome Awards are supported by The Kresge Foundation. The Kresge Foundation works to expand opportunities for vulnerable people living in America’s cities and promotes post-secondary access and success for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.