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!
by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor
After 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 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).
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!
by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor
Montgomery County Community College will join hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to celebrate Campus Sustainability Day 2014 with activities on Oct. 21 and 22, as well as through a collaborate art project and short essay contest.
In its 12th year, Campus Sustainability Day is designed to create awareness and facilitate discussion between students, faculty, staff and the community at large. The 2014 CSD theme is “Empowering Change on Campus and in the Community.”
This year, MCCC will hold two days of CSD activities: Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in the South Hall Lobby at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, and Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Center of the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The Oct. 22 event coincides 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).
Both events will feature informational and interactive exhibits on a variety of “green” topics, including the Green Office Initiative, RecycleMania, Solar and Wind energy, Shuttle transportation program, Zimride, refillable dry erase markers and much more. The Central Campus event will also feature information on water bottle fill stations and a special exhibit of hybrid and electric vehicles in partnership with Conicelli Auto Group.
To commemorate the College’s 50th Anniversary and to create awareness about reusing and recycling common objects, participants are asked to donate unwanted items for a “found object” art project. These items will be mounted onto a four-foot board in the shape of MCCC’s 50th Anniversary logo. Found object items can include would-be-discarded plastic, metal, wood, cardboard, rubber, fabric and glass; writing instruments; CDs; bottle caps; shoe laces; computer parts; utensils; brushes; photos; jewelry and much more! While the possibilities are almost infinite, items that are perishable, soiled, or otherwise inappropriate will not be included. All individuals donating pieces to the project will be entered into a drawing for a free Think Green sweatshirt. Materials will be collected at both campuses.
Members of the College community are also invited to submit short essays describing a sustainable practice in which they engage and why it’s important to them. The deadline for submission is Oct. 31. All entries will be published on the College’s Think Green blog for a two week voting period. The author of the essay with the most votes will also receive a free Think Green sweatshirt, and the essay will be featured as part of the College’s 2015 Earth Day celebration. Essays should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to green specific activities, individuals are encouraged to donate gently used winter coats to benefit the Cluster Outreach Center in Pottstown and non-perishable breakfast items to benefit the College’s Stock Up for Success food pantry for students in need.
The College is also asking community members to get involved by tweeting ways they are going green with the hash tag #ThinkBigGreen. Responses tweeted by Oct. 31 with the hashtag will be compiled and posted to the College’s Think Green blog!
press release courtesy of Second Nature
Montgomery County Community College’s Associate Vice President for Facilities and Construction Jaime Garrido attended the 2014 Presidential Summit on Climate Leadership in Boston, Mass. Oct. 1-3. He joined more than 250 college and university leaders across the United States in focusing on ways to strengthen campus climate action and sustainability initiatives, as well as higher education’s leadership role in developing strategic responses to climate and sustainability challenges in community, regional and national contexts. Like Montgomery, most Summit participants represent signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
Convened by Second Nature, Inc., the supporting organization for the ACUPCC, the Summit reflected the centrality of higher education’s role in preparing new generations to meet the challenges of climate change. The program focused on ways to build on the success of climate action plans and sustainability initiatives on ACUPCC campuses and develop solutions to the most pressing environmental problems facing our communities.
A total of 684 colleges and universities in the U. S. are current ACUPCC signatories, representing all 50 states, Washington D.C., and every category of public and private higher education institution. These signatories are committed to achieving carbon neutrality and represent more than 6.5 million students–one third of all college students in the nation.
The Summit was designed by a group of 30 college and university presidents with the support of a committee of seven local institutions, and was organized into five tracks: Knowledge and Solutions for a Changing Climate, Higher Education’s Climate Leadership Imperative, Creating a Campus Culture of Sustainability, Investment Strategies and Institutional Risks, and Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership–along with a session on the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, Second Nature’s newest initiative focused on climate resilience.
Highlights included keynote addresses by Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City of Boston, and Kate Gordon, Executive Director of The Risky Business Project. Kathy Jacobs, Director of the Center for Climate Change Adaptation Science and Solutions and former Director of the U. S. National Climate Assessment, is speaking about and facilitating discussions about climate resilience throughout the event.
CO2 impact from attendee travel, meeting space, and guest accommodations was offset through purchase by The Revere Hotel of carbon offsets from Native Energy, Inc. Summit sponsors include Xerox, Cenergistic, Altenex, and ecoAmerica.
by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor
For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 8 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast. MCCC was one of 32 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2014.
The College partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses and, for the first time this fall, between its Blue Bell campus and Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Last year, more than 10,400 riders took advantage of the free, 20-passenger shuttle, which is equipped with wi-fi to support student success.
On Earth Day 2014, MCCC and GVF introduced a new vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will further reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide over the next year based on the 28,560 miles driven and 3,483 gallons of diesel fuel used in 2013. Prior to the introduction of the CNG vehicle, the College’s shuttle program helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles annually.
In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, the College’s network has logged 1,461,492 carpool miles.
At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.
Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.
Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award. To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit mc3green.wordpress.com.