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

Author Bob Reiss Presents Lecture: ‘The Arctic Century Is Upon Us’

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Photo courtesy of Bob Reiss

As the ice continually melts in the Arctic, controversy ensues between development by oil companies and the protection of this fragile environment and its native people. Acclaimed author and journalist Bob Reiss will discuss “The Arctic Century is Upon Us” when he visits Montgomery County Community College on Monday, March 9, from 12:30-2 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. A simulcast of the presentation will be shown in the South Hall Community Room at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

The community is invited to attend this free presentation but tickets are required. For tickets, visit mc3.edu/BennettLecture or call 215-641-6518. Following the presentation, Reiss will be signing his book, “The Eskimo and the Oil Man,” in the Science Center lobby in Blue Bell.

As a best-selling author of 19 books, Reiss has published both fiction and non-fiction books, as well as numerous articles in “The Washington Post Magazine,” “Smithsonian,” “Parade,” “Rolling Stone” and other national publications. This New York City native started his career as a journalist for the “Chicago Tribune” and also has worked as a correspondent for “Outside Magazine.” He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and from the University of Oregon with an MFA.

To gain expertise of the Arctic situation, Reiss spent three years traveling in the U.S. high north and interviewing scientists, diplomats, military planners, Eskimo whale hunters and politicians. As a result, he shares a compelling story of the situation as seen through the eyes of an Inupiat Eskimo leader and the head of an oil company seeking to drill offshore.

According to William Reilly, co-chair of the Deepwater Horizon Commission, Chairman Emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund and former EPA Administrator: “Reiss has taken a highly charged and divisive subject and gotten inside the lives and values of the principles with empathy and insight. ‘The Eskimo and the Oil Man’ is a most illuminating contribution to issues that will become more important as new discoveries follow drilling offshore.”

This presentation is part of the ongoing Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice series, which was established at the College in 1981. The lectureship reflects the ideals of Richard Bennett, a Quaker who devoted his life work to accomplishing peace and justice through non-violent efforts.

~ by Diane VanDyke

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.

PHOTOS: Campus Sustainability Day 2014

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).