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Sustainability Curriculum and our Journey Toward Carbon Neutrality. Sustainability as a Core Value at GRCC. Sustainability as a Value at GRCC Goal: Development of Sustainability Curriculum at GRCC GRCC - Members of Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
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Sustainability as a Core Value at GRCC
Thank You to Dr. Gary Burbridge for his leadership in Sustainability
Thank You to our Sustainability Council Members:
Raul Alvarez Gary Burbridge Deborah Chivis David Dye
Ann Earhardt Dr. Ender Mindy Firlan Bill Foley
Dan Gendler Vicki Hudson Vince James Lynne Jarman-Johnson
Leigh Kleinert Eric Kunnen Klaas Kwant Maryann Lesert
Mansfield Matthewson Bruce Morrison Dorothy Sadony
Brian Shultz E Smith Tom Smith Patti Trepkowski
Ric Underhile Mike Vargo Nicholas Wikar Sara Yob
“Sustainability – We use resources in responsible ways to achieve balance among our social, economic, and environmental practices and policies.”
We regard sustainability as a crucial form of innovation that provides a framework by which we can improve the well-being of all living things and the health of the planet through education, modeling best practices, networking with other institutions of higher education, while also discovering and developing new methods to elevate sustainability.
In order to ensure that our efforts produce the desired outcomes, we focus on achieving new levels of sustainability through the lens of the triple-bottom line: economics, environment, and social equity.
We strive to achieve sustainability through our efforts in developing curriculum that challenges our students to apply their learning and adopt these practices into their daily lives, integrating sustainability through our facilities management and operations, along with meaningful, long-term community engagement.
In 2005, the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Aquinas College formed a Community Sustainability Partnership to embrace and support sustainability guiding principles in their planning and operations, and to make a positive impact in our community.
In 2006, the City Commission adopted a planning and performance measurement process that includes all City services. It began measuring the achievement of outcomes in relation to sustainability - the triple bottom line - economic prosperity, environmental equity, and social equality. What was once known as the City of Grand Rapids' Strategic Plan has evolved into City of Grand Rapids' Sustainability Vision Statement.
In 2007, the City of Grand Rapids and the Community Sustainability Partnership received the first U.S. designation by the United Nations University as a Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) in Education for Sustainable Development. Today there are over 190 members of the Partnership, who are committed to work together to restore environmental integrity, improve economic prosperity, and promote social equity.
In 2008, Fast Company called the City of Grand Rapids, America’s Greenest City.
In 2010, Grand Rapids has been named the most sustainable midsize city in the U.S. by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Civic Leadership Center and Siemens Corp.
GRCC Facilities and Operations in Sustainability
This past October, we reached a saving of over $1.5 million dollars in utilities in the first 27 months of the Energy Conservation Program and ongoing partnership with Energy Education Inc.
The savings have resulted in an environmental impact equivalent to removing 1,415 cars from the road, planting 201,633 tree seedlings and growing them for 10 years, or reducing 7,884 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
GRCC’s Innovation Challenge
This past fall, the Employee Professional Development and Enrichment along with the Rewards and Recognition Team began the Innovation Challenge, which this academic year focuses on energy use at GRCC. Specifically, "How can we reduce our energy costs so that we can use these savings to benefit programs that support student success?"
Grand Rapids Community College Construction Program was the first to build a Gold LEED certified home for Habitat for Humanity in the United States. Sustainability is not a trend for us….its a way of life.
GRCC was featured in the October / November issue of Community College Journal, “Green-jobs training prepares students for career success”
Innovation Stage Gate
Adoption = Innovation
Request for the Development of additional Sustainability Curriculum, Courses, Certificates, and Degree Programs
“Sustainability education refers generally to learning experiences that enable students to develop the knowledge, behaviors, and skills to help create healthier ecosystems, social systems, and economies.”
-- Source: SEED Center
(Sustainability Education & Economic Development),
created by the American Association of Community Colleges
GRCC Programs or Courses Currently Available or In Development:
Alternative Energy Degree
AR 105 – Construction Materials 1
AR 106 – Construction Materials 2
AR 208 – Design Studio: Commercial Building Design
AR 218 – Sustainable Residential Design
CHM 170 – Energy Storage Technology
EC 270 – Introduction to Environmental Economics
ER 140 – Introduction to Renewable Energy
ER 160 – Introduction to Geothermal HVAC Systems
SUS 201 – Introduction to Sustainability
SUS 292 – Seminar in Sustainability
EN 102 – English Composition 2 (with special focus on sustainability)
EN 293 – EcoLit & Activism: Modern Environmental Literature
Job Training – Residential Construction and
Job Training – Green Construction Remodeling
Job Training – Composite Technician
Wind Safety Program
Wind Turbine Technician Program
Solar Photovoltaics Program
Eleuthera Field Study in Sustainability – Study Abroad (C/NC)
Pathways to Prosperity Grant Program
Non-Credit Courses and Seminars
Green Advantage – Environmental Certification
What is Energy?
Root Camp – Getting Ready to Garden
Institute for Healing Racism
This past September, we completed two Greenhouse Gas Inventory Reports.
2007-2008: 40,356.8 Metric Tons of Carbon Emissions
2008-2009: 39,951.9 Metric Tons of Carbon Emissions
Lansing Community College
2008-2009: 82,300 Mtons
Washenaw Community College
2008-2009: 27,804 Mtons
Current Goal – GRCC to achieve carbon neutrality by 2052