Sustainability up for national award

Bellevue College has been nominated as a finalist amongst 19 other colleges and universities for the 2013 National Climate Leadership Award. Each school nominated was recognized for their efforts in creating a more sustainable campus and surrounding community. However, they haven’t gotten the award just yet. To win the award, each finalist made a video explaining their contributions to becoming a greener institution. BC’s sustainability department shot their video with the aid of BC TV Services. Students now have the whole month of April to vote for their favorite video. At the end of April, the school who made the video with the highest number of votes will win the National  Climate Leadership Award.

Deric Gruen, director of the sustainability department at BC, is one of many on the BC committee, each member contributing their own into raising awareness for the conservation of energy on campus. He explained the significance of this award. Though there is no monetary award, it would provide more recognition for BC on a local scale, for new and current students, as well as on a national scale in terms of its efforts for campus sustainability. BC’s contributions have not only been for the campus, but for the surrounding community as well. As one of the first public institutions on the West Coast to have a public electric car charger, it’s not just for students, it’s for the community.

Alex Clark, communications coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, is in charge of spreading the significance of sustainability and conservation of energy through the network of students, clubs, faculty and staff. In regards to the importance of the award, he stated: “If we get this award, we’re getting national recognition. I think it would help our program a lot because the school would see the value in what we’re doing and probably help fund more projects to create a greener campus.”

The growth and development of the sustainability department has shown itself through its involvement in many aspects of BC campus life. “Sustainability would be—if I was to define it—would be caring for the Earth, caring for the people, and always consider the three pillars for sustainability which is social, environmental and economic. If you have all of those, you have a sustainable settlement,” said Clark. “A lot of our projects are student-led and most of it is trying to make our campus have as little of an impact as possible on the environment while still maintaining an institution of higher education that performs well.”

Gruen emphasized: “We’re hitting the classroom, the campus. We’re educating the masses about our choices” from solar panels to electric vehicle chargers to regular emphasis on composting.    To watch the videos of other schools and of BC, go to Through that website, the public is given the chance to vote for a candidate—with a limit of one vote per day. Voting will close at the end of April, after which the winner will be chosen.