Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.
A significant part of our Climate Action Plan focuses on a structured set of clearly defined mitigation strategies which fall into five general categories: (1) energy efficient operations, (2) power plant and fleet/fuel management, (3) behavioral/cultural change incentives, (4) on-campus renewable energy production, and (5) carbon off-sets.
To address energy efficient operations involving buildings, we have focused on energy conservation measures, maximization of space, and applying LEED standards to new construction and landscaping. With regards to technology, we have focused on power management tools, server virtualization, data center consolidation, monitor and computer reduction, and print management solutions. We believe our strategies in these areas will result in a reduction of, at a minimum, 1,481.23 MTeCO2 annually.
To address power plant and fleet/fuel management, we have focused on power plant fuel conversion, electric GEM cars, and more fuel efficient campus vehicles. We believe our strategies in these areas will result in a reduction of approximately 191.97 MTeCO2 annually.
To address behavior and cultural incentives, we have focused on energy curtailment, recycling, purchasing environmentally preferable products, alternative ways of working, commuting reductions, and e-campus and other IT initiatives. We believe our strategies in these areas will result in a reduction of approximately 367,369.7 MTeCO2 annually. This significant reduction is tied directly to distance education, providing our campus with a way in which to reduce the number of commuters, and thereby address the most significant contributor to our campus emissions.
We have taken steps to explore wind, solar, and biofuel renewable energy options, as well as considering the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs), as ways in which we might address additional mitigation strategies for reducing our carbon emissions.
Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
Faculty at Quinsigamond Community College have understood for quite some time, the importance of introducing topics of sustainability across the curriculum, and have often worked collaboratively through team teaching and other methods to ensure that the information within their subject areas are also integrated into the learning taking place in other subject areas. Some science, biology, food, auto technology, and energy utility technology credit courses have been and are being developed which are specific to climate change, and many general education courses such as English and sociology have integrated a sustainability theme into their coursework. In addition, a proposal for general education learning goals is under development, which will ensure that climate neutrality and sustainability issues are incorporated into the curriculum for all associate degree-seeking students. Non-credit courses, workshops and programs are also in development to address regional workforce needs regarding labor pool development and employee effectiveness in the emerging green economy.
Although Quinsigamond Community College is a commuter college with thousands of students attending classes each day and evening between job and family commitments, there are several ways in which the student learning experience involving climate neutrality and sustainability takes place: class activities and learning labs that involve demonstrations of sustainable practices, honors program projects focused on local food production, Earth Day events, student club interests in environmentalism, campus newspaper articles produced by student journalists targeting sustainability and climate issues for raising awareness, and Student Life Office and Student Senate sponsored activities which model sustainable practices.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Quinsigamond Community College has engaged in efforts to reach out to our campus community and to our larger Worcester community, to inform, inspire, and build upon broader integrated strategies which address a common goal of sustainability and carbon reduction. As a partner in the Clean Energy Technology Working Group a collaborative effort on the part of Massachusetts Community Colleges and Technical High Schools, we are joining in efforts to build the capacity of a Massachusetts Clean Energy Education and Training Center to meet workforce development needs of the fast-emerging clean energy/energy services sector. We have also hosted a forum for Presidents and CEOs of area businesses to brainstorm around specific issues, in an effort to develop an industry-driven vision that focuses on labor pool development, employee effectiveness, aligning programs and services, developing career tracks, and documenting knowledge and skill set deficiencies, around a theme of Sustainable Energy and Green Technology. The President has been a guest on a local radio program called Energy Freedom Fighters to discuss the energy savings measures of the college. In addition, many experiential learning activities take place throughout the year where students and faculty engage the public through the hosting of dinners that use locally grown foods, to the creative expression of Earth Day events, to the informational focus on sustainability in the campus newspaper, to the campus collaboration with millions of other global participants to shut-off non-essential lighting for an hour in the event called Earth Hour, to extending free electronic recycling collection to the Worcester community each Spring. For the past year, a Green Thought of the Day has been sent out electronically once each week to provide members of the college community with personal strategies for reducing their own carbon footprint and understanding broader issues around sustainability and climate commitment.