Montgomery Celebrates Earth Day with Week of Activities

green_cities_logo3-300x75 copyby Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2014, the theme of which is “Green Cities.” Launched in fall 2013, the Earth Day Network’s Green Cities campaign focuses on three key elements of sustainability: clean energy, green buildings and transportation.

While Earth Day itself is observed annually on April 22, MCCC will hold a variety of activities on April 21-24. All events are free of charge and are open to the community. More information will be available on the College’s Think Green blog.

On Monday, April 21, the College will dedicate its new wind turbines during a 2 p.m. ceremony at its West Campus in Pottstown. Four 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines were recently installed outside of the College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive. The turbines are part of the College’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc.

Each turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts, which helps to power the LED lighting in the Center’s parking lot. The wind turbines also serve as a teaching and learning tool for the College’s lab science courses, among others.

On Tuesday, April 22, Earth Day, MCCC will hold an Eco Style Fashion Show from noon-2 p.m. in the Parkhouse Hall Atrium at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Coordinated by Public Relations student Katrina Lundy, the event will feature MCCC students modeling sustainable outfits from Plato’s Closet, Willow Grove, and from the College’s Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore.

Then, from 1-2 p.m., MCCC will introduce its new “greener” transportation shuttle during a ceremony on the Central Campus quad, outside of the Advanced Technology Center. The new vehicle runs on compressed natural gas as opposed to traditional diesel fuel, which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide annually based in the vehicle’s 2013 mileage of 28,560.

The College partners with the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) to operate the 20-passenger shuttle to help students commute between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses. The shuttle makes four round-trips per day, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters; it is free to students and is equipped with wi-fi. Last year, the shuttle program reduced vehicle mileage by more than 520,000 and eliminated emissions of more than 54,500 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Next, the College will hold its annual Earth Day Block Parties from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23 in the South Hall Lobby at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, and on Thursday, April 24 in the Advanced Technology Center atrium at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The block parties will showcase sustainability initiatives and activities from programs, classes, departments and individuals from throughout the College. Exhibits include the student Environmental Club; RecycleMania; Green Office Initiative; carbon footprint calculations; SEPTA, Zimride and other transportation options; green merchandise from Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores; Siemens self-funding energy conservation project; CulinArt Farmers Market; sustainable Economics poster session; composting; health-related information; Culinary Arts Institute Landfill-Free Initiative; spring bike maintenance; and more.

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.

Editor’s Note: Paul Goraczko and Katrina Lundy contributed this this article.

Video courtesy of Earth Day Network

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