Western State College of Colorado (WSC) has been honored by National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a winner in the annual competition “Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming.”
This award program honors U.S. schools that are advancing creative solutions to global warming on their campuses. Western is one of five winning schools that were chosen from a national pool of entries. The college received an award of $1,000 to put toward a campus sustainability project.
Western has initiated several projects to green its campus, including a sustainability program funded from student fees, the installation of solar panels, and a project to develop a closed-loop food system with a community garden, onsite composting and future greenhouse.
The college also has one building certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, and two buildings pending certification.
”Higher education leaders are confronting the climate crisis in inventive and effective ways, and Western State College of Colorado’s closed-loop food system project is an outstanding example of the energy and fun students are bringing to the effort,” said Jennifer Fournelle, campus ecology program coordinator for NWF. “Chill Out competitors continue to raise the bar and, students in particular, are tirelessly leading the way by conducting building energy audits, weatherizing local homes, shifting to local organic foods, and even by helping to raise funds for large, clean energy installations on campus.”
Titled “Staying Warm While Chilling Out: Progressing Toward A Closed-Loop,” Western’s submission focused on the college’s closed-loop food system project with the goal of turning food waste into compost and then utilizing that compost to grow food in a community garden.
Western has additionally integrated a food pulper and an earth tub into the composting process in order to overcome the challenge of composting in a colder climate, and hopes to build a campus greenhouse within the next few years.
Members of the college community teamed up to produce the two-minute video. The video was directed by Jack Lucido, professor of film studies, and was produced by Brooke Moran, professor of recreation. Moran also co-wrote the script with Jessica Young, associate vice president for academic affairs and chair of the college’s sustainability action committee. Film student Drew Eflin edited the video.
The actors were: WSC President Jay Helman; students Dakota Becker, Ryan Kelly, Kirky Olsen and Maxwell Pizey; staff members Jon Coady, Ray Bourque, Ralph Goehringer and Heather Bell; and alumna Rose Tocke.
Visit www.western.edu/sustainability to view the video and learn more about sustainable campus solutions at Western.
Other winning schools in the contest include: Boston Latin School (Boston, Mass.), Central Florida Community College (Ocala, Fla.), University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark.) and Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga.).
The National Wildlife Federation featured the winning entries in the “Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming,” webcast on April 21. This year’s webcast featured Alisa Reyes (Nickelodeon’s “All That”) and NWF’s own David Mizejewski as co-hosts. They celebrated the winning campuses and showcased the work that is happening on campuses nationwide.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program has been an integral part of the campus greening movement since 1989. The nation’s 4,100 colleges and universities educate more than 15 million students in any given year making these schools important laboratories for creativity and innovation—keys to tackling a monumental crisis like global warming. National Wildlife Federation’s mission is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. Visit www.nwf.org.