As the fall 2011 semester begins, STLCC continues to move forward on the sustainability front in several ways. Two tidbits come from the food front: Treat America has switched from foam to compostable containers AND the college has contracted with Blue Sky Recycling to compost the food scraps from our 3 campus cafeterias. Both goals have been sought for many years and happened because managers from Treat and the college see eco advantages. Both commitments mean more short-term cost for long-term waste savings. Compostable containers still cost more, but Treat seems committed to proceed in this direction because customers now value and ask for no foam. Composting with Blue Sky will pay off quickly as food waste is no longer part of our waste bill. Special thanks go to Christy Hart, Auxiliary Manager at Forest Park, who manages food services contract renewals. She kept sustainability goals high as we renewed our food service contract.
Along with operation decisions, a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory class as been created to help the region continue to have free GHG emission inventories updated for the City of St. Louis (and the County of St. Louis in the future) while providing STLCC students valuable internship experience and green job training. This class has been created as a hybrid credit (a capstone) and continuing education non-credit opportunity. The idea was to attract government, industry and anyone interested in green job training and pair them as mentors for STLCC college students. I used my capstone: “Think Tank: using psychological strategies to solve world problems” (IDS 201-577 at Flo Valley), and linked it to a class title more apropos to the topic: “Greenhouse Gas Inventory–the future is now” (Continuing Education under Ecology 700). We need students for this class to run, so please pass the word to anyone you know who may be interested!! Special thanks to Janet Witter, Director Steve Long, and Vice Chancellor Rod Nunn in Workforce and Community Development for their support thinking outside the box for class creation in a short amount of time. We nominated this collaborative project for the Heroes of the Planet–Sustainable Alliances award.
Last, but certainly not least, during the summer, a green champ at Flo Valley (Vicky Lucido) offered to help the district create e-documents to move away from multi-page forms. Electronic signatures are being discussed now with Accounting, Human Resources and TESS so Banner can recognize approvals. Along with moving forward in paper reduction, Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance Carla Chance and her team are drafting a sustainability position to be added to Board Policy. This policy will reflect our green mission statement and help spearhead decisions across the district wanting to improve operations from purchasing to green building (thanks Dennis Dill, District Manager for Maintenance and HVAC, for your input here). My kudos to leadership to bravely move forward in this direction of transparency and accountability!
Here’s to a fabulous semester as our faculty improve eco-literacy, and our facilities crew, TESS, Auxiliary and Business Managers and the Green Team leadership continue all their good works on each campus! Everyone makes a difference!