L&C Earns Third Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award

Article by: Laura Inlow,
GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is a recipient of the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, its third in five years. 

Administered by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award is the longest running award of its kind nationwide, celebrating its 30th year in 2016. L&C previously earned the honor in 2011 and 2013. 

“This year, we were recognized for new and continuing efforts in energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, green commuting, water sustainability, education, and student and community engagement,” said Director of Sustainability Nate Keener. 

Most notably, Lewis and Clark reduced its energy consumption, thereby reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and saving money in the process. The college installed 108 kw of solar energy generating capacity at its Godfrey and National Great Rivers Research and Education Center campuses, an amount that is estimated to generate 140,000 kwh of electricity per year (roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 15 Illinois homes). The college also reduced its paper consumption by more than six tons. 

Award panelists recognized the college’s recent pervious paver parking lot and bioswale project, funded by an Illinois EPA Green Infrastructure Grant, as well as the successful “Solarize Godfrey” community bulk solar outreach program, which led to 13 new installations of solar energy generating systems at homes and businesses throughout Godfrey. 

Other sustainability efforts include expanded recycling options, including post-consumer food waste composting in both cafeterias and eWaste drives for the community. In the past four years, the college has recycled more than 100 tons of electronic waste. 

Lewis and Clark is a leader in expanding electric vehicle infrastructure, demonstrated by its organization of a nationally recognized statewide electric vehicle demonstration road trip and the installation of EV chargers on the Godfrey and NGRRECSM campuses. 

“This award reflects the commitment and hard work by the entire college in achieving our Climate Action Plan and sustainability goals,” L&C President Dale Chapman said. 

This year, 25 winners were recognized, including only two higher education institutions. Lewis and Clark was the only community college. Of the 25, 17 were repeat winners, each judged on new achievements since the last award. 

“This is not an easy thing to get,” said ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien. “It takes a lot of work; there is a lot of screening, and frankly, there is a lot of competition for this award.”

Lewis and Clark Community College is a two-year higher education institution with multiple campuses, a river research center, Community Education Centers and training centers located throughout its more than 220,000-person college district, which reaches into seven counties. L&C is dedicated to “greening” its campuses, reducing the college's carbon footprint and providing technical assistance in sustainable practices and education. Learn more at, or for more information, contact Keener at (618) 468-2782 or 

ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI). The PRI at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides objective cutting-edge research and solutions to allow citizens and decision makers to make choices that ensure sustainable economic development, enduring environmental quality, and resource preservation for Illinois and beyond. PRI comprises the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. Learn more at