VIDEO: Bike-Friendly Montco

Montgomery County Community College  joined Santa Monica College in October as the first community colleges in the country to achieve the bronze Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) designation from the League of American Bicyclists. Check out the College’s biking promotional video below!

Video by Matt Porter, Alana Mauger and Gregg Heimer

PHOTOS: Central Campus Gets 50 New Trees

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) donated 50 trees to Montgomery County Community College as part the organization’s wide-ranging campaign to plant 1,200 trees throughout the five-county Philadelphia area. Students, faculty, staff and PHS volunteers planted 50 trees along Loop Road at the College’s Central Campus on Nov. 14. Check out press coverage from The Reporter. Photos by Matt Carlin ’04.

Making an ‘Environmental Impact’ in Pottstown

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Four, 25-foot wind turbines now stand outside of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Four, 25-foot wind turbines now stand outside of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Montgomery County Community College earned the 2014 Environmental Impact Award for its “green” approach to business during the Tri County Area Chamber of Commerce economic development luncheon last month.

According to the Chamber, the award is presented to businesses that are taking a “green” proactive approach for a more sustainable business environment. Montgomery County Community College is the fourth environmental award recipient since 2009.

Guided by a Climate Commitment Action Plan and Advisory Council, the College is working toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050—a pledge made in 2007 as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Areas of focus include education, transportation, energy, facilities and overall best practices.

While many of the College’s sustainability initiatives are implemented across all locations, the  West Campus in Pottstown boasts several unique—and visible—green elements, namely wind turbines and a green roof.

In April, the College installed four 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines outside its Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River. Each turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts—enough energy to power the parking lot LED lighting. More importantly, the turbines are providing real world teaching and learning opportunities for students and faculty around alternative energy.

The wind turbines at West Campus, along with solar panels at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc. Collectively, through a broad series of self-funded energy conservation projects, MCCC will see 19 percent energy savings—and more than $6 million in cost savings—over the next 15 years.

Green roof foliage sample. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Green roof foliage sample. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

The Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center also features the College’s first and only green roof. Installed in 2011, the roof features 13 different varieties of plants that were selected specifically for their growth, strength, and absorptions properties.

The plants help to reduce the amount of rainwater that goes into the storm system, thus protecting the surrounding waterways from excessive runoff. When saturated the plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen, thus helping the College advance toward its goal of carbon neutrality.

Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center green roof. Photo by Matt Cadwalader

Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center green roof. Photo by Matt Cadwalader

In addition to the wind turbines and green roof, West Campus sustainability highlights include two 240-volt electric vehicle charging stations in partnership with ECOtality, a recognized leader in the research and development of advanced energy systems specializing in alternative fuel campuses; a Segway program for Public Safety officers; and an increased emphasis on bicycle accessibility.

VIDEO: Green Office Initiative Team Honored

Members of the College’s Green Office Initiative team were recognized by President Dr. Karen A. Stout during Campus Sustainability Day on Oct. 22 at the Central Campus in Blue Bell. The team received the Mustang Spot Award, given to members of the College community for exceptional work that goes “above and beyond” their usual responsibilities. Congrats Green Office Initiative team!

‘Bike Friendly’ Award Positions Montgomery as Community College Leader

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

BFU bronze_14-18 copyAfter two years on the honorable mention list, Montgomery County Community College  joins Santa Monica College as the first community colleges in the country to achieve the bronze Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) designation from the League of American Bicyclists.

“As an institution, we focused on specific areas of improvement and added bike-related services over the last three years to take the next step in being a Bicycle Friendly University,” said Gregg Heimer, a senior network engineer who also serves as the College’s Bike Advocacy Committee chair. “We are extremely proud to be recognized for our biking leadership and advocacy at the community college level.”

Last year, Heimer and fellow Montgomery cyclists formed a Bike Advocacy Committee that works with the institution’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council to promote biking safety and best practices. The group organizes weekend rides—including participation in the 2014 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly and National Bike Challenge—as well as films and exhibits at both of the College’s campuses.

The group, which includes representation from the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF), also works with the College’s facilities and public safety teams to map out optimal bike routes, include bike mounts on the transportation shuttle that operates between campuses, and establish bicycle maintenance facilities.

“Looking forward, we hope to increase biking awareness through local partnerships, improve upon our community infrastructure to urge bike commuting on campus, and become a role model for similar community colleges across the country,” said Heimer, who is an avid cyclist and Ironman tri-athlete.

Montgomery’s Bicycle Advocacy Committee is already hard at work on its goals for the 2014-15 academic year. These include partnering with local bike shops for cycling skills classes; establishing bicycle rack standardization across campuses; helping to facilitate monthly student bike rides in coordination with the student-run Adventure Club; and adopting a bicycle policy for inclusion in student handbooks. The group also hopes to enhance its web presence with additional biking resources and to make bike routes accessible on mobile devices.

“Once bicycle riding becomes the norm here, our students will expect, and perhaps demand, bicycle friendly facilities at their transfer institutions and even in their home communities,” shared Heimer.

In addition, because a significant portion of the College’s carbon footprint comes from commuter emissions, increased bike riding will help Montgomery reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

While the College is engaged in bicycle improvements and initiatives across all of its campuses, the West Campus—located in a downtown business district by the western trailhead of the Schuylkill River Trail—is especially ideal for biking. In fact, students, faculty and staff can take advantage of Bike Pottstown’s free community bike share program, with several bikes available for loan onsite at the Schuylkill River Academic and Heritage Center.

Montgomery County Community College joins 100 Bike Friendly Universities in 37 states and Washington D.C., including nine of the top 10 national universities in the country as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. MCCC was among the first community colleges to apply for BFU status two years ago, and became among the first to achieve it on Oct. 22, 2014 along with Santa Monica College in California.

Visit mc3.edu/about-us/directions-and-maps for biking maps of the College’s Central and West campuses.

Montgomery County Community College's 2014 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly team.

Montgomery County Community College’s 2014 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly team.

PHOTOS: Campus Sustainability Day 2014

Montgomery County Community College celebrated Campus Sustainability Day on Oct. 21 at the West Campus and Oct. 22 at the Central Campus. The Oct. 22 event coincided with a Sustainability Career Day for high school students, presented by Communities in Motion, a foundation of the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF). Photos by Sandi Yanisko (Central) and Alana J. Mauger (West).

 

Help Montgomery Win PA American Water’s U-TAP Challenge!

BLOG UTAP MEME3[1]Montgomery County Community College is participating in PA American Water’s U-TAP Challenge! Vote now-Oct. 31, and the school with the most votes will win a water bottle filling station for its campus! You can cast one vote per day. Help Montgomery County Community College reduce its use of disposable plastic water bottles! Vote daily by scanning the QR code below or by clicking here!

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