Sow the Seeds
As community colleges embrace the green movement, finding ways for students,
faculty, and the community at large to become more involved is critical. Consider
these creative ways to foster interest on your campus.
Green Committees. Committees bring students and faculty together to improve sustainability on campus through new construction, building retrofitting, and changing the way business is done, from food services to maintenance to landscaping.
Students are either elected to committee positions or invited to join open committees, and they partake in hands-on projects, educational seminars, and high-level
meetings with contractors.
Individual Projects. From the dumpster dives to campus cleanups, special events
draw interest from students who can’t commit to regular club activities.
Environmental Clubs. Such clubs invite students to join and participate in individual, one-day projects and long-term activities such as LEED-certification planning
for new buildings.
Class Projects. Trinidad State Junior College student Jeremy Begley sent up a
helium balloon that got him interested in environmental conservation as part of a
campus science project (see page 39). Professors at colleges everywhere should
think of creative ways to “green” up their own syllabi.
environmental impact of discarding otherwise recyclable materials on campus.
As a student, his interests in campus
sustainability extended beyond waste
disposal to green building.
“Phi Theta Kappa discovered that a
new building on the campus was going
to be LEED-certified,” Keleher says.
“Everyone knew it was going up, but
nobody knew about the certification.
Our society project at the time was
Operation Green, and we thought the
building might be a perfect opportunity
for us, so we set up a meeting with
administrators and the contractors to
find out how we could be involved.”
Honor society members worked on
signage for the new green building
and made an educational film about
its sustainable construction features.
Administrators plan to use the film as
an educational resource.
Keleher’s enthusiasm for the environment persists. This year, he’s completing a 300-hour tour with AmeriCorps,
where he’s working to conduct an
energy audit on a 63-building children’s
home to improve its energy efficiency
and help it win federal grants.
“I developed quite a passion for the
sustainable movement through my
work at Mesa,” he says. “I got involved
with Phi Theta Kappa and discovered
how sensible the green movement is
and how effective it can be, and how
much it’s growing. Now, instead of a
business degree, I’d like to earn some
kind of sustainable business degree.”
Join the Club
Environmental clubs are among the
most popular extracurricular offerings
on campuses today, according to administrators. Many students are willing to
take on ambitious projects, even if their
stay at the college is temporary.
Kelly Cartwright, a biology professor at College of Lake County outside
Chicago, says the college’s environmental club has been active since it was
founded nearly five years ago.
(Continued on page 38)
(top, middle, bottom)
Students take part in
environmental activities at
the College of Lake County in