Save the Date: Environmental Sustainability Club Wissahickon Creek Clean Up

Student and faculty participants from last year's clean up event.

Student and faculty participants from last year’s clean up event.

Montgomery County Community College’s student Environmental Sustainability Club invites students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends to join its annual community service clean up project on April 25. The group will be cleaning up the Wissahickon Creek at Sandy Run in Glenside. Carpools are being organized from the Central Campus in Blue Bell. To learn more or to RSVP, email Environmental Sustainability Club President Natalya Martin.

RecycleMania Results: MCCC Ranks Top in PA, 6th in U.S. for Minimizing Waste

RM_logo_2015-01Montgomery County Community College’s efforts to cut waste over the last decade have propelled it to the top of the score sheet in RecycleMania’s 2015 competition. In the category of waste minimization, the College ranked first among higher education institutions in Pennsylvania, fifth among public two-year colleges nationally, and sixth overall among all colleges and universities in the country, making it the College’s most successful RecycleMania finish in eight years of competition.

RecycleMania’s Waste Minimization category measures an institution’s total waste—trash and recycling collected during the eight-week competition—and divides it by the number of students, faculty and staff on campus to calculate the amount of waste per person. The College collected only 8.395 pounds of waste per capita—almost half of the per capita amount collected in 2014.

“Less waste per capita means that our efforts to educate the campus community about the importance of reducing and reusing, in addition to recycling, are paying off,” said Jaime Garrido, associate vice president for facilities and construction at MCCC. “For example, the College invested in water filling stations that have eliminated more than 108,000 plastic bottles from recycling or waste streams over the past three years—that’s close to 14 miles of plastic bottles!”

In addition to waste minimization, RecycleMania also ranks institutions according to volume and percentage of recycling collected during the competition.

In the Per Capita Classic category, MCCC finished 17th in Pennsylvania, with 1.884 pounds of recycling per capita. This positioned the College as 20th among two-year institutions nationally, and 289th overall.

In the Grand Champion category, MCCC scored a 22.447 percent cumulative recycling rate, positioning it 13th in Pennsylvania, 16th among two-year institutions nationally, and 175th overall.

The College collected a cumulative 17,960 pounds of recycling, ranking it 15th in Pennsylvania, 20th among two-year institutions nationally, and 274th overall in the Gorilla Prize category.

RecycleMania is an eight-week nationwide competition, held Feb. 1 through March 28, during which colleges and universities competed to see who could reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste. MCCC has participated for eight consecutive years.

Nationally, 390 institutions recycled or composted 80.1 million pounds of materials, preventing the release of 129,411 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere. 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 33 MTCO2E, which translates to the energy consumption of three households or the emissions of six cars.

Montgomery County Community College was among the first institutions in the country to sign American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007. The College’s sustainability efforts are led by a team of faculty, students, administrators, support staff, alumni and community members that comprise the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council.

To learn more about the College’s Sustainability Initiative, visit check out more from the Think Green blog.

To learn more about RecycleMania or to view the full list of results, visit recyclemaniacs.org.

~ by Alana J. Mauger

Sustainability Festival, Keynote Speaker Kick Off Earth Day Activities

Office Depot's Yalmaz Siddiqui will deliver an Earth Day presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” on April 15.

Office Depot’s Yalmaz Siddiqui will deliver an Earth Day presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” on April 15.

Montgomery County Community College will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2015 with a series of activities that engage students and community members with the institution’s sustainability efforts.

While Earth Day itself is observed annually on April 22, the College’s celebration kicks off with a Sustainability Festival on April 15 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the quad at Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Free and open to the public, both events will feature student and College exhibits, as well as information and activities from green vendors and community organizations. The Central Campus festival will also include a student ceramic arts sale and an eco-car exhibit.

Also on April 15, Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental and supplier diversity strategy with Office Depot, will deliver a keynote presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” at 12:20 p.m. in the Science Center Theater at the Central Campus, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus. The presentation is free and is open to the public; however, tickets are required. Free tickets can be reserved and downloaded at mc3.edu/livelyarts.

Siddiqui has led global environmental strategy efforts at Office Depot since 2006 and supplier diversity strategy efforts since 2014. He helped initiate and integrate environmental initiatives into all functional areas of the organization, resulting in Office Depot earning the number one rank as America’s “Greenest Large Retailer” by Newsweek Magazine for three years.

Office Depot helped the College launch its Green Office Initiative in 2013. The initiative empowers offices to progress through a four-tier program based on sustainable purchasing and practices that ultimately save both resources and money. The College earned two awards last year for its Green Office work: the Greener Purchasing Award from the Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative and the Community College Leadership in Greener Purchasing Award from Office Depot.

In addition to the public events on April 15, the College will host programs for its students, faculty and staff through April 22. These include a World Café-style five-year planning session facilitated by MCCC’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council and a “Service Rewind” celebration that recognizes student community service projects and activities.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College and is incorporated into the institution’s strategic plan, core curriculum, and in everyday best practices as they relate to facilities management, campus operations and transportation. Chaired by President Dr. Karen A. Stout, a team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members comprise the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which guides sustainability efforts toward attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

~ by Alana J. Mauger

Students Work Toward Central Campus ‘Fair Trade University’ Certification

Students in the Environmental Sustainability Club at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell are working on a campaign to get the campus certified as a Fair Trade University. To attain full certification, the campus needs to meet five requirements, three of which are already completed:

Track the Environmental Sustainability Club's Fair Trade Campaign progress.

Track the Environmental Sustainability Club’s Fair Trade Campaign progress by clicking on the image above.

Fair trade is a certification system that ensures the people who make and grow the things we buy are treated fairly. Many times, particularly in developing countries, adults and children alike are forced into deadly work environments, where they get little or no pay, no health care, and children have no hope of an education.

According to Fair Trade USA, “fair trade certified” products follow these principles:

  • Fair prices and access to credit
  • Fair labor conditions / No sweatshops or child labor
  • Direct relationships between growers and buyers
  • Community development
  • Democratic organization
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Environmental sustainability
Look for one of these symbols on a product package to know if it’s certified fair trade.

Look for one of these symbols on a product package to know if it’s certified fair trade.

Those interested in helping with the student campaign at MCCC or who have a fair trade suggestion share are invited to attend one of the Environmental Sustainability Club’s meetings, which are held Wednesdays at 12:20 p.m. in Science Center room 308at the Central Campus in Blue Bell. Email Natalya Martin at nmartin0223@students.mc3.edu or Barbara Donnini at barb.donnini@gmail.com for more information.

~ by Barbara Donnini, Think Green Correspondent

2014 Carbon Inventory Report

Montgomery County Community College’s 2014 Carbon Inventory Report is now available.

Each January, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) requires participating institutions to submit an inventory of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their campuses. The College submitted its 2014 report on Jan. 2, 2015.

To assist with the inventory, the College uses Campus Carbon Calculator, developed by Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP) and now operated by the University of New Hampshire and Sightlines. All emissions are recorded in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCOE).

GHG emissions are divided into three scopes. Scope 1 includes natural gas, college vehicles and agriculture; scope 2 is electricity; and scope 3 is students, faculty and staff commuter emissions, air travel and solid waste.

In 2013-2014, the College’s scope 1 emissions increased by 2,162 Mcf (1 Mcf = 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas) over the previous year. The increase was due, in part, to a colder average winter temperature of 34 degrees, in addition to the Culinary Arts Institute coming fully online. 1,168 Mcf were attributed to the CAI.

Note: 1 Mcf = 1,000 cubic feet = 1 MMBtu (based on natural gas approximate heat value of 1,000 Btu per cubic foot)

Note: 1 Mcf = 1,000 cubic feet = 1 MMBtu (based on natural gas approximate heat value of 1,000 Btu per cubic foot)

The College’s scope 2 emissions dropped by 684,184 kWh (kilowatt-hour) over the previous year, despite the CAI coming fully online, which added 391,680 kWh. The decrease is a result of chiller plant optimization projects at Central and West campuses as part of MCCC’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc. The College also offset 7,585 metric tons of CO2 by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) through its electricity supplier. Combined, scope 2 reduction efforts enabled the College to save $120,826 on its electric bill in 2013-2014.

Carbon Table 2 rev

As a commuter institution, transportation emissions, scope 3, significantly contribute to the College’s carbon footprint, despite a reduction of 1,263,862 total vehicle miles traveled in 2013-14, due, in part, to a slight overall decline in enrollment. However, these numbers do not reflect miles saved through transportation programs like the Campus Shuttle and Zimride.

Carbon Table 3 rev

The below chart summarizes all emissions calculations, which totaled 11,678 for 2014–the lowest total number since the College began calculating GHG emissions in 2007.

Carbon Table 4 rev

~ by Alana J. Mauger and Charlie Scandone

PHOTOS: Bennett Lectureship with Author Bob Reiss

Acclaimed author and journalist Bob Reiss discussed “The Arctic Century is Upon Us” at Montgomery County Community College on March 9. The presentation was part of the Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice series. Following his public lecture, Reiss signed copies of his book,  “The Eskimo and the Oil Man,” after which he met with Honors Biology students.

Photos by Sandi Yanisko