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BC Receives Sustainability Award

This October, Berea College, along with three other institutions, received the AASHE Campus Sustainability Leadership Award for its sustainability initiatives.

Apartments in Berea's Ecovillage

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada that are working to promote sustainability through ongoing programs and curricula. AASHE has 150 registered campuses, and its goals span various aspects of campus life, including education, professional development, communication and research.

AASHE presented the awards at its October conference on “The Role of Higher Education in Creating a Sustainable World,” which was held at Arizona State University. More than 650 people from campuses across the nation attended the conference.

The awards were given to four campuses that demonstrate outstanding advances toward sustainability in academics, operations and community outreach. Each school received $750 and a $250 gift card from Office Depot, one of the conference sponsors. The other winners were the University of British Columbia, Warren Wilson College and Lane Community College. The four award recipients were picked from a group of 35 nominated schools.

Berea was selected for the award based on its various sustainability initiatives. The environmentally-friendly aspects of the EcoVillage, such as the ecological machine, outdoor clothes drying and energy-efficient power system, were important factors in winning the award. Features of the other winning colleges include purchasing wind energy for 100% of campus needs, growing organic foods for the campus and community, and purchasing unlimited bus passes for all students. The University of British Columbia even funds their entire sustainability program through the revenues saved by conservation.

President Larry Shinn highlighted the award in his October President’s Report to the campus saying, “Berea College has previously received recognition for its sustainability initiatives on the local and state levels, but it is also good to know that the college is recognized by some as a national leader in sustainability among its peers in higher education.” Tammy Clemons, Sustainability Coordinator, submitted Berea’s nomination and accepted the award on the College’s behalf while attending the conference, where she and Dr. Scott Steele also presented.

The award money, which is designated for sustainability-related projects, will be used for new sustainability efforts that have not necessarily been included in the college’s regular budget. The Office Depot gift card will enable the Ecological Sustainability Education (ESE) program to purchase office supplies that “would be useful for our promotions,” said Clemons. She also said, “It is very rewarding that so many people on our campus have contributed to the college’s various sustainability initiatives, and it is their hard work that made this award possible.”

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