Schuylkill River Named 2014 River of the Year: Logo Needed

by Paul Goraczko, Think Green Correspondent

Once among Pennsylvania’s most heavily polluted waterways, the Schuylkill River now boasts the title of Pennsylvania’s 2014 River of the Year following a five-week online public voting period spanning from November to December 2013.

Last year, the river, which runs past Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus, placed second in the voting; it lost by less than 200 votes.

However, this year the river walloped the competition, receiving 43 percent of the popular vote in a decisive victory over the Kiski-Conemaugh River (21 percent), the Ohio River (12 percent), the Brodhead Creek Watershed (12 percent) and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River (12 percent).

The designation has been bestowed on rivers since 1983 by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, but it is only the second time that the Schuylkill has clinched the title.

According to a press release from DCNR, the winning applicant in the competition, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, which manages the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to help fund River of the Year activities.

The Schuylkill River Heritage Area is now in need of an original logo to help promote these events and to commemorate the statewide honor.

Download / view the official rules

The winning designer will receive $250 and will be recognized on the Schuylkill River Heritage Area website, in the organization’s newsletter, and on the group’s Facebook page.

The contest is open to artists of all ages and the deadline for submission is March 14, 2014.

The winning logo, which will be chosen by April 1, will be used on all signs, banners, flyers, and programming materials for the year-long slate of activities being planned to celebrate the river’s status.

The logo will also serve as the design for the 2014 Schuylkill River Sojourn T-shirt, which is provided to all sojourn participants.

Submissions should be emailed to lcatalano@schuylkillriver.org by 5 p.m. March 14.

College Gears Up for 2014 RecycleMania Tournament

RM_logo_2013by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will once again take part in RecycleMania, a nationwide tournament among colleges and universities designed to increase student awareness of campus recycling and waste minimization.

After finishing second in Pennsylvania in the Waste Minimization category during the 2013 challenge – collecting 15.292 pounds of combined trash and recycling per capita – MCCC expects to maintain momentum in this, its seventh consecutive year of competing.

Pre-season practice weeks are held from Jan. 19-Feb. 1. Then, the official competition kicks off on Feb. 2 and extends eight weeks to March 29.

During the program, campuses compete in different contests to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, thelargest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita or have the highest recycling rate. Final results will be announced on April 11.

In 2013, 523 colleges comprising 3.5 million staff and students recycled and/or composted 90.8 million pounds of waste.  In addition, Recyclemania 2013 resulted in a reduction of 121,436 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2E).  Of the totals, MCCC contributed 34,132 pounds of recycling and averaged 4.252 pounds of recycling per person each week.

According to the U.S. EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), MCCC’s recycling efforts during the competition resulted in a greenhouse gas reduction of 48 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), which translates to the energy consumption of four households or the emissions of nine cars.

RecycleMania is made possible through the sponsorship support of Alcoa, SCAThe Coca Cola Company, Keep America Beautiful, and the American Forest & Paper Association. Additional program support is provided by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise programCampus Conservation Nationals, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program.

Check out MCCC’s Think Green blog at mc3green.wordpress.com for RecycleMania stats and updates.

To learn more about the RecycleMania 2014 competition, visit recyclemaniacs.org.

‘Think Green’ 2013 in Review

Happy New Year! Check out WordPress’ 2013 annual report for Think Green!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report

TD Charitable Foundation Supports G-STEM Program for Pottstown Area Youth

by Diane VanDyke

The TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, recently donated $12,500, as part of the bank’s commitment to giving back to the community, to Montgomery County Community College in support of its G-STEM (Green-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer program.

MCCC launched the G-STEM program in 2011 as the result of a $10,000 grant received from the TD Charitable Foundation. Since its inception, approximately 60 Pottstown area youth have attended the science program taught at the MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown. Because of the ongoing support of the TD Charitable Foundation, MCCC can offer this program again for the fourth consecutive year.

“Thanks to TD Bank, students who never had such an opportunity before now have a chance to participate in the program. As a result, they acquire dreams, which they realize they now can fulfill,” said Biology Associate Professor Dr. David Gonzales, who serves as the G-STEM program director.

During the five-day program, 20 students are introduced to the basic concepts of scientific methodology and data analysis through hands-on activities and experiments, which include field trips to the nearby Manatawny Creek and Schuylkill River. Each activity focuses on an environmental issue relevant to the local community, and the students present their findings using PowerPoint at the conclusion of the program to the faculty, parents and guests.

Throughout the process, students work closely with MCCC faculty, including Biology Associate Professor Dr. David Gonzales, Geology Professor Robert Kuhlman, Microbiology Instructor Dr. James Bretz, Assistant Chemistry Professor Dr. Janet Graden, Biology Instructor David Whalen, and Assistant Mathematics Professor Stephanie Isaac. Additionally, several MCCC students have the opportunity to help as teaching assistants and expand their experience.

The program’s objective, through the engaging activities in a college setting, is to encourage youth to learn more about science and explore careers in this high-demand field.

Montgomery County Community College offers nationally recognized, competitive STEM transfer programs, in addition to career-track and certification programs. Students receive an affordable, high-caliber education that enables them to reach their goals, including seamless transfer into one of the College’s many partner institutions or entry into the workforce. For more information about the College’s STEM programs, visit mc3.edu.

A staunch commitment to active involvement in the local community is a vital element of the TD Bank philosophy. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank® and the TD Charitable Foundation provide support to affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and environmental initiatives, many of which focus on improving the welfare of children and families.

Pictured at the check presentation (from left) are:  MCCC Interim Dean of STEM Suzanne Holloman, TD Bank Vice President/Relationship Manager Christina Caracciolo, TD Bank Regional Vice President Geoffrey Brandon, MCCC Microbiology Instructor James Bretz, MCCC Biology Associate Professor/Program Director Dr. David Gonzales and TD Vice President/Store Manager David P. Rink. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pictured at the check presentation (from left) are: MCCC Interim Dean of STEM Suzanne Holloman, TD Bank Vice President/Relationship Manager Christina Caracciolo, TD Bank Regional Vice President Geoffrey Brandon, MCCC Microbiology Instructor James Bretz, MCCC Biology Associate Professor/Program Director Dr. David Gonzales and TD Vice President/Store Manager David P. Rink. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Meet Student Environmental Club President Serena Dunlap

by Robert Gardner, Think Green Correspondent

As a senior at Boyertown Area Senior High School, Serena Dunlap attended an art class at Montgomery County Community College via its dual enrollment program.  However, after graduating with a 3.7 GPA, she chose to attend Drexel University in fall of 2011.  She realized, after one semester, that Drexel would be too expensive and transferred back to MCCC for spring 2012.

Dunlap is a recipient of an Honors Program scholarship, which helps her budget since she’s paying for college herself.

“I am paying my own way through college.  I chose [MCCC] because it is close, inexpensive, and it keeps me in school.  I didn’t realize everything it had to offer until I got involved in the Honors Program and came to Central Campus.”

Dunlap spends her time this semester in much the same way she’s spent the past three semesters: busy.  On any given day, she darts from building to building on Central Campus; between classes and clubs to student government and volunteerism, Dunlap is the definition of student leadership.

“You want me to tell you everything I’m involved in?” Dunlap joked.  “I participate in anything at [MCCC].”

Her involvement at the College reads like the resume of an established adult many years her senior.

  • Member, Phi Thetta Kappa (2012-2013)
  • Montgomery County Community College Honors Program Member (2012-2013)
  • Student Government Vice President (2013)
  • President of Environmental Club (2013)
  • Northeast Regional Representative of the American Student Association of Community  Colleges (2012-2013)
  • Student Representative for the Student Life Committee (2013)
  • Upward Bound Peer Mentor (2013)
  • Student Government Senator at Central Campus (2012-2013)
  • Vice President of Environmental Club (2012-2013)

For the future, Dunlap wants to attend Bryn Mawr College and study Psychology, with a minor in Art.

“I wish to find my success in the field of art therapy,” she shared.

She’s off to a great start.  In fact, two of her original paintings were donated to and now hang in the Student Leadership and Involvement Office at West Campus.

Student Environmental Club President Serena Dunlap at MCCC's Campus Sustainability Day celebration in October. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Student Environmental Club President Serena Dunlap at MCCC’s Campus Sustainability Day celebration in October. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Culinary Arts Institute Goes ‘Landfill Free’

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College’s brand new Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) became the institution’s first “Landfill-Free Enterprise” when it opened in August 2013. The CAI partners with Sustainable Waste Solutions (SWS), of Souderton,  to convert all waste — trash, recycling and food trimmings — into energy or materials.

“Sustainability is so important in the food industry, especially since we produce so much waste,” explained Chef Instructor and CAI Business Manager John De Pinto.

For waste that can be recycled, SWS employs single-stream advanced techniques to increase the rate of materials that are actually recycled, eliminating  byproduct waste that may end up in the landfill.

For materials that cannot be recycled, SWS employs Energy-from-Waste or Waste-to-Energy processes, which create energy, typically in the form of electricity, from the combustion of solid waste.

SWS also transforms 100% of the CAI’s food scraps — including meats and high fat foods that typically cannot be composted — into agricultural compost through a scientific process that complies with government regulations regarding disease control and ground water pollution. In addition all of the CAI’s cooking grease collected and transformed into biofuel.

Check out a short video tour of College’s brand new Culinary Arts Institute below!

Carpool Your Way to a New iPad From Zimride!

Hitting the road for Thanksgiving? Want to make a few extra bucks driving others along the way? Need to find a ride?

Montgomery County Community College has partnered with Zimride to make it easy to catch a lift or fill the empty seats in your car.

Sharing rides is safe and easy! MCCC’s customized Zimride site is only open to individuals  with a valid MCCC login and password. Use the same credentials you use to access WebAdvisor!

To date, the College’s students, faculty and staff have posted 1,286,654 miles since partnering with Zimride. That’s a potential CO2 reduction of 283,063 pounds!

Post your ride before the end of  November and be automatically entered to win an iPad, courtesy of Zimride! After posting, Zimride will match you up with others heading the same way.

So wherever you need to go, Zimride will get you home in time for Thanksgiving.

Household Batteries Now Accepted for Recycling

Montgomery County Community College is partnering with Grainger Industrial Supply to recycle household batteries. Collection boxes are available at several locations at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, including the College Hall south lobby entrance, the Parkhouse Hall 202 lobby entrance, the Advanced Technology Center atrium, the Facilities Management Building conference room, and the Science Center lower level near the Engineering laboratories.

Battery collection box in the ATC atrium.

Battery collection box in the ATC atrium.

PHOTOS: Campus Sustainability Day 2013

Montgomery County Community College celebrated Campus Sustainability Day on Oct. 23 at the West Campus and Oct. 30 at the Central Campus. Stay tuned for Think Green posts about many of the initiatives pictured!

Photos by Alana J. Mauger

Monthly Shuttle Rider Updates Now Available

shuttle report thumbStarting this fall, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) is providing the College with monthly ridership reports for its transportation shuttle program. The Shuttle Ridership Summaries are filed under the Data & Reporting tab.

Click here to read the August-September report or October report (PDF).