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ERIC Number: EJ1092567
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1067-1803
Still in Bloom? As Completion Takes Center Stage, A Look at the Green Movement and Sustainability on Community College Campuses
Collett, Stacy
Community College Journal, v85 n1 p30-33 Aug-Sep 2014
A few years ago you could not attend a higher education conference without a session on green technology, and the sustainability movement. Emerging job training programs in wind and solar were equipping a new generation of energy workers with skills needed to secure high income jobs in clean energy markets. Campuses were doing their part to become stewards of the environment reducing greenhouse gas emissions and installing energy efficient technologies. Then as President Obama called upon the nation's colleges to double the number of students earning degrees or professional certificates by 2020 the green movement found itself looking up at a larger essentially more urgent priority. While the inital fervor surrounding sustainability might have cooled at community colleges, the nation's college campuses did not stop going green. "I don't think [green] has become less popular, but some other priorities have risen to the top," says Todd Cohen, who directs the SEED Center, an effort by the American Association of Community Colleges to promote sustainability at the nation's two-year career and technical colleges. Recent evidence would suggest he's right. By 2013, more than 80 percent of K-12 schools and colleges surveyed by McGraw-Hill had at least some green retrofits and operational improvements. It's not easy to quantify the success of these projects however. Only 8 percent of colleges that responded to the McGraw-Hill survey said it's possible to calculate a return on investment for these projects; few respondents said it was possible to directly measure the nonoperational benefits of green improvements. The challenges extend to operational savings, too. When looking at the impact of green technology retrofits against 10-year operating costs, 39 percent of colleges report savings, but at least half of those say they don't know the impact of their green buildings. Despite these challenges, community colleges continue to serve as leaders in the green movement-with groundbreaking projects and educational opportunities for the next generation of sustainability experts.
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; New Mexico; North Carolina; Texas