Student Environmental Club Leads 2015 RecycleMania Efforts

At a recent club fair, Montgomery County Community College Environmental Club Co-Presidents Natalya Martin (left) and Natalie DeSantis showcased the amount of recyclable materials that are mistakenly thrown in the trash during a given lunch hour at the Central Campus. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

At a recent club fair, Montgomery County Community College Environmental Club Co-Presidents Natalya Martin (left) and Natalie DeSantis showcased the amount of recyclable materials that are mistakenly thrown in the trash during a given lunch hour at the Central Campus. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Students from Montgomery County Community College’s  Environmental Club are leading the institution’s 2015 RecycleMania efforts, 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 2014 challenge—collecting 17.248 pounds of combined trash and recycling per capita—the College expects to maintain momentum in this, its eighth consecutive year of competing.

The 2015 competition kicked off on Feb. 1 and continues eight weeks through March 28.

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

In 2014, 461 colleges comprised of 6.3 million students and staff recycled and/or composted 89 million pounds of waste.  In addition, Recyclemania 2014 resulted in a reduction of 126,597 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2E).

 See the full 2014 report

Of the totals, Montgomery County Community College contributed 37,390 pounds of recycling and averaged 4.658 pounds of recycling per person each week.

According to the U.S. EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), the College’s recycling efforts during last year’s competition resulted in a greenhouse gas reduction of 63 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), which translates to the energy consumption of five households or the emissions of 12 cars.

RecycleMania is made possible through the sponsorship support of Alcoa, The Coca Cola Company and Keep America Beautiful. Additional program support is provided by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), U.S. EPA Waste Wise program, Campus Conservation Nationals, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program.

Check out the College’s Think Green blog for RecycleMania stats and updates.

To learn more about the RecycleMania 2015 competition, visit recyclemaniacs.org.

~ by Alana J. Mauger

Communities in Motion Honors MCCC, Others with Inaugural ‘Star Award’

by Alana J. Mauger

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Photo courtesy of GVF.

Montgomery County Community College was among 15 recipients of the first-ever Star Award from Communities in Motion, a Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) foundation. The award recognizes projects, plans and people who demonstrate leadership in sustainability planning and implementation.

Specifically, Communities in Motion recognized MCCC for its leadership and advocacy as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and for its sustainability work in the areas of transportation, waste minimization, energy and purchasing.

Associate Vice President for Facilities and Construction Jaime Garrido and Executive Director of Government Relations and Special Events Peggy Lee-Clark accepted the award on behalf of the College.

“Congratulations to our first ever Communities in Motion Stars recipients. We are honored to be able to recognize such wonderful organizations, individuals and local communities who are improving our communities of today so that they can be enjoyed now and well into the future. As Communities in Motion continues to grow and expand our programming, we are looking forward to continuing to work with our “stars” so that we can showcase their leadership and use their examples to continue to keep us all in motion.” said Rob Henry, CEO, Communities in Motion.

In addition to MCCC, other Communities in Motion Star Award recipients included the Borough of Phoenixville, Cheltenham Township, Chester County, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, King of Prussia District, Macerich – Tysons Corner Center, Montgomery County, Philadelphia Premium Outlets, the Borough of Pottstown, Saving Hallowed Ground, SEPTA, Simon, URS Corporation, and Vanguard.

Submission categories included building; development; green infrastructure; leadership/advocacy; marketing and promotion of a project; park, recreation or open space project; physical improvements; and planning.

To learn more about Communities in Motion, visit movingyou.org.

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.

Shuttle Service Expands to Include Stops at Culinary Arts Institute, Ambler SEPTA Station

The College's transportation shuttle outside of the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

The College’s transportation shuttle outside of the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College will expand its transportation shuttle program to include a pilot that runs from the SEPTA station in Ambler to its Central Campus in Blue Bell and its Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) in Lansdale starting on Jan. 21, 2015, the first day of the College’s spring semester.

The new shuttle will depart from the SEPTA station, 35 W. Butler Ave., Ambler, at 6:15 a.m., Monday through Friday. The shuttle first will stop at Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, and then travel to the CAI, 1400 Forty Foot Rd., Lansdale. The bus will then return to Central Campus before going back to SEPTA’s Ambler station.

Throughout the day Monday through Friday, the 14-passenger shuttle will continue making trips among these three locations in coordination with the classes offered at the CAI. The last stop at SEPTA’s Ambler station will be at 6:10 p.m., except for Friday when the last stop is at 4 p.m. For more information about the shuttle schedule and to make reservations, visit mc3.edu/shuttle.

The shuttle is wheelchair accessible and is free for newly enrolled and current students during the spring semester pilot. Reservations are recommended, particularly during peak runs. Students will be required to present a valid student ID and sign in before they board the vehicle.

Since 2010, the College has provided shuttle service between Central and West campuses, allowing students to take advantage of courses offered at both campuses to complete their program requirements. This existing service will continue, and will further enable students at West Campus to take the shuttle to Central and then to CAI. The new pilot will expand the existing shuttle service to CAI to five days a week, since it was previously available only Monday through Wednesday, and will add the Ambler stop. The College will assess the passenger usage of the pilot program at the end of the spring semester for future planning.

The College’s transportation shuttle program is managed by the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) in coordination with TransNet Suburban Transit Network, Inc.

Transportation alternatives, like the shuttle program, are part of the College’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Montgomery County Community College  is a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Award.

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.