Sustainability department wins national award

Alvin Loong, Alex Clark, Deric Gruen, Mackenzie Williamson and Zach Boucher show off sustainability's new award.
Alvin Loong, Alex Clark, Deric Gruen, Mackenzie Williamson and Zach Boucher show off sustainability’s new award.

At the start of April, Bellevue College was nominated as a finalist among 19 other colleges and universities for the annual 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award. The BC Sustainability Department was pleased to announce last Wednesday that they were one of 10 other institutions in the contest and receiving one of the awards given in the five Carnegie categories—Associate Colleges. The award helps recognize the “innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability, climate mitigation and adaptation,” as stated in the Winners Toolkit provided for BC from Second Nature, the support organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The award also recognizes the institutionalized sustainability at signatory campuses of the ACUPCC from five Carnegie categories: Doctorate Granting Universities, Master’s Granting Institutions, Baccalaureate Colleges, Associate Colleges and Special Focus Institutions.”

of the sustainability department at BC, was “elated to share and display the award on campus.” Nominations were evaluated based on the “climate leadership of programs, administration, the campus community and overall achievements of the campus.” From there, the finalists were chosen and began a video voting competition in which BC sustainability received 1044 votes.

The award was given to institutions that emphasized on one or more of four categories: greenhouse gas reduction, curriculum, green building and renewable energy. Though there were some colleges that put greater emphasis on one of the categories, Gruen said “there was a comprehensive nature of the operation. Work was done on all fronts which included building a community with more awareness for sustainable living, as well as projects that were a part of greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy.”

“I feel that we deserve it and we are on our way to becoming leaders in sustainability in higher education,” said Communications Coordinator Alex Clark.  Clark said that the student involvement in the sustainability department sets BC apart from other schools. “We only have two sustainability staffers and the rest are students. It’s really empowering. There are a lot of institutional changes happening and a lot is happening cultural, and it’s all happening on a student level.”

In terms of who gets to keep the award, Gruen said “it might just be kept in the principal’s office for people to see on their way in.”