LLCC is one of nine community colleges across the nation to receive the 2016 Green Genome Award from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and its Sustainability Education and Economic Development Center (SEED). The $10,000 prize, made possible through the Kresge Foundation, will be used to further support the college’s high tunnel local foods initiative, and to restore Lake Macoupin on the LLCC-Springfield campus with native plantings.
LLCC was one of two awardees in the Community Engagement category.
“We are very honored that AACC has recognized our ongoing sustainability efforts with this generous award,” said Dr. Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., president of LLCC. “LLCC is a very green campus, with 15 acres of native prairie, a community garden, high tunnels for growing local food year round, and a long-standing commitment to sustainable practices.”
The college is in its 10th year of being formally committed to sustainable operations and emerging as a leader to advance green economy industry job growth and healthy sustainable regions. LLCC organized a Sustainability Team in 2007 to create a culture of sustainability throughout the college. Recommendations from the Sustainability Team offer financial and resource conservation benefits to the campus and community.
LLCC established native prairie landscapes on campus that replaced high maintenance grass, creating habitats for native wildlife and saving the college money, time and an estimated 200 gallons of gas annually. Descriptive signage indicates the various blooming prairie flowers and grasses for those walking nearby. The different native plant species added to the grounds have provided additional teaching opportunities for biology and environmental students. In addition, the bird banding project at the college has documented an increase in the types of birds found on campus.
Energy efficient upgrades to campus facilities totaling $1.2 million have included replacing aged boilers and chillers with high efficiency units, replacing constant volume air handlers with variable air volume handlers, installing energy efficient T8 lighting, replacing windows with energy efficient models, and installing energy management systems.
The LLCC Sustainability Team further integrated sustainability into the fabric of the college by adopting the use of green cleaning products, switching all vending machines to energy star compliant models, and installing occupancy sensors in classrooms.
“Community colleges continue to take the lead on sustainability,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. “Whether developing cutting-edge training for green collar jobs or implementing green practices, sustainability efforts at community colleges benefit students, local business and the community. We are very proud to work with Kresge Foundation to provide leadership in green efforts on campuses across the nation.”
AACC’s SEED Center and the Green Genome Awards are supported by the Kresge Foundation.
The Kresge Foundation works to expand opportunities for vulnerable people living in America’s cities and promotes post-secondary access and success for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.