Archive for the ‘Campus Green Builder’ Category

by Rima Mulla, Communications Manager, Second Nature

If I had a wishlist of things I’d like to accomplish in my role at Second Nature, an update of the organization’s website would be # 1 on that list. The ACUPCC’s website is in pretty good shape — always room for improvement, of course, but the mission of the initiative is clear and resources for signatories are well-organized and accessible. We even do a pretty good job of keeping information up-to-date on Campus Green Builder, a web portal aimed at under-resourced schools for which the initial funding ended over a year ago.

But when it comes to Second Nature’s website, it’s a classic case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes.

Vote for Second Nature - Carrots for a CauseThat’s why we entered this year’s Carrots for a Cause website redesign contest by local Boston design firm, Jackrabbit. (Voting has begun and continues through August 12. Votes may be cast once a day, every day!)

If you’re reading this post, then you probably already know about Second Nature’s role as the lead supporting organization behind the ACUPCC. We tend to expend the majority of our resources on activities that directly impact the 650+ institutions in the ACUPCC network: implementation support; management of the reporting system; outreach and recruitment; production of publications; conducting webinars; hosting the annual Summit and Regional Symposiums to name just a few of those activities.

But Second Nature has a rich, 20-year history that extends well beyond our support for the ACUPCC. Key players in the Education for Sustainability field recognize our work as an innovative and critical driving force for sustainability. But you’d never know that from our website!

So please help us by voting daily, bookmarking the voting page and, just as importantly, spreading the word to anyone you think would like to support Second Nature’s mission.

PS: We even made a fun video we hope will help us win.

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By Van H. Du, Program Associate, Second Nature

Sustainable CampusesThe United Negro College Fund (UNCF) recently published Sustainable Campuses: Building Green at Minority-Serving Institutions to showcase the outstanding leadership and accomplishments achieved by many minority-serving colleges and universities in their efforts towards campus sustainability and climate neutrality.

Sustainable Campuses is a collection of discussions and case studies, written by educational and environmental representatives from both public and private sectors, focusing on the topics of campus leadership, funding opportunities for campus sustainability initiatives, and the greening of campus facilities and operations. Developed and compiled by the Building Green project of UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, the articles in Sustainable Campuses also highlight the many challenges and opportunities, which MSIs have experienced in their journey towards engaging, planning and implementing sustainability initiatives across their campuses.

Through the stories on innovative ideas, experiences, lesson learned, as well as best practices shared in this publication, it is clear that sustainability efforts and progress made by MSIs are tremendous. And as UNCF President Dr. Michael Lomax expresses in his introduction, “By reading this book, by thinking about how you and your institution might benefit from the projects these articles describes, and by acting on your convictions, you become part of the solution.”

The publication is a product of collaborations between UNCF, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), and Second Nature. The Building Green at MSIs project is made possible by the generous support from The Kresge Foundation.

To order a copy of the publication, please click here.  For more information on the publication, please contact Felicia Davis, Director, UNCF Building Green Initiative, at Felicia.Davis@uncfsp.org

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Butte College Solar Panels - courtesy Butte College

Second Nature intern Anne Sjolander writes about this tremendous achievement over on the the Campus Green Builder blog:

With the installment of 25,000 photovoltaic panels on campus, Butte College has eliminated the need for outside energy sources and is capable of sending clean energy back to the grid.

Anne’s post in its entirety is here, read the official Butte College news release here, and find out more about Butte College’s sustainability efforts on their sustainability webpage.

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Last week, we released a new video that answers the two questions most frequently put to us since Second Nature was founded in 1993:

Why is Education for Sustainability so important?

Why focus on the higher education sector?

Heres’s our answer:

Watch the video on YouTube and Vimeo.

The Second Nature YouTube Channel
View this and other Education for Sustainability videos on our YouTube channel. While you’re there, become a subscriber!

Spread the Word
Click the share buttons below to share this post with your colleagues and friends.

Share Your Sustainability Videos With Us
Has your school or organization produced video content about its sustainability initiatives? Share them with us by leaving a comment below or on our YouTube channel page.

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By Ashka Naik, Director of Capacity Building, Second Nature
(This article appears in the January, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Two years ago Second Nature undertook an extensive research project to understand the needs and challenges faced by the U.S. higher education institutions that were disenfranchised from the mainstream “Green Building” movement for a myriad of reasons.  This inquiry, funded by the The Kresge Foundation, offered an in-depth look into the unique demographic, physical and economic as well as knowledge-based hurdles confronted by these institutions while pursuing sustainable building practices on their campuses.

The result was a 2-year strategic outreach and education program, “Advancing Green Building in Higher Education,” which was developed in 2008 by Second Nature and funded by The Kresge Foundation to assist under-served colleges and universities in their green building efforts.  Second Nature proposed to use six activities, such as the Kresge Fellowship Program and the Green Building 101 Technical Assistance Grants Program, as vehicles for delivering these actions in an effective and timely manner.  These activities provided a strategic path for influencing green building at under-resourced institutions because they: 1) focused on the places of highest leverage for advancing green building at academic institutions, including university leadership and the building industry, and 2) provided needed technical and institutional resources while also growing financial support for high leverage initiatives.

As 2010 came to an end, so did the first phase of Second Nature’s Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Initiative.  Our team at Second Nature celebrates a successful completion of this extraordinary capacity-building program, and invites you to take a look at the highlights and success stories of this 2-year journey towards building a sustainable future for all higher education institutions!

To read more, please click here.

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By Vanessa Santos, Advancing Green Building Intern, Second Nature

When the economy takes a turn for the worse, all organizations, especially those within the education sector, suffer. However, under-resourced and minority-serving colleges and universities are stepping up to prove that ambition, useful information and timely opportunities can overcome the financial concerns that are often associated with pursuing a sustainability agenda on campus.

Second Nature’s Kresge Fellowship Program – as part of its Advancing Green Building Initiative –awarded 40 fellowships total in 2009 and 2010 to senior-level executives at under-resourced colleges and universities. With these fellowships, the 40 executives attended a green building conference where they were able to network with each other and professionals in their field as well as to learn more about sustainability and green building on college and university campuses.


Second Nature's Ashka Naik with the 2010 Kresge Fellows at this year's AASHE Summit

In the last two years, these fellows and their institutions have already taken significant steps to bring sustainability to their campuses, despite being especially strapped for resources. A large reason for this action is the learning and networking experience these fellows gained through attending a national green building conference and through their participation in the Fellowship Program.

In his descriptive report update, 2009 fellow Tim Johnston from Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC) discusses the development of the college’s new Agriculture Center. Thanks to the information he gained at the 2009 Greenbuild Conference on the American Recovery and Reinvestments Act, NTCC applied for an energy grant and was awarded $750,000 in energy stimulus money. The grant is allowing them to install an 85 kilowatt photovoltaic system with a 2.4 kilowatt wind generator, which would qualify the building for LEED platinum certification!


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By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature

(This article appears in the December, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


As you know, Second Nature is a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform the education, research, practice and community engagement of higher education in order to foster a healthy, just and sustainable society for all now and in the future. Senator John Kerry, Teresa Heinz and I founded Second Nature in 1993 to help lead this transformation.  Our view of “sustainability” includes and goes well beyond the environmental dimension to embrace the bigger questions of how we create a world in which all current and future humans are healthy, live in secure, thriving communities and have economic opportunity on a finite planet whose capacity to support life becomes more precarious daily.

We did this because of three beliefs.  First, despite heroic efforts on public health and environmental protection in the last 40 years, society was and continues to be on an unhealthy, inequitable and unsustainable path that threatens the viability of a complex modern civilization.  Secondly, we need transformative change in the mindset and actions of individuals and institutions that must be led by higher education.  And thirdly, the current structure and direction of higher education is largely (though unintentionally) reinforcing the unhealthy, inequitable and unsustainable path that society is pursuing.


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Advancing Green Building in Higher Education

While attending the 2010 Greenbuild Conference in Chicago, IL, Second Nature’s Ashka Naik brought together the eleven 2010 Kresge Fellows who attended this year’s GreenBuild thanks to the funding they received through their fellowships. The group shared their experiences as campus sustainability champions over a meal and had the opportunity to discuss their challenges with content experts in the field of green building. Read more on the Campus Green Builder blog.

Second Nature Kresge Fellows at 2010 Greenbuild

More information about the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Kresge Fellowship Program.
More information about the Campus Green Builder web portal.

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By Felicia Davis, Director, Facilities & Infrastructure Enhancement, Institute for Capacity Building, UNCF and Ashka Naik, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Second Nature

(This article appears in the November, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Second Nature, in collaboration with UNCF, will host a special side event during the upcoming COP 16 UN Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico on Friday, December 3 at the Meridian Hotel featuring US colleges and universities committed to reducing their carbon footprints.  The session will share best practices from US Black, Hispanic-Serving and Tribal colleges and universities that have signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).  Senior officials from three signatory institutions — each at a different stage in the ACUPCC process — will describe how the ACUPCC provides a framework for advancing campus sustainability. (more…)

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By Michelle Dyer,  Chief Operating Officer, Second Nature

(This article appears in the October, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


After the ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit in Denver I will be stepping out of my role as Chief Operating Officer of Second Nature, to join Intersection Partners, a private equity investment firm that builds sustainable businesses, as Principal.  I joined Second Nature to support Tony Cortese and the Second Nature team through a time of significant growth and to build the organizational capacity to advance its mission.  With the excellent team now have in place, and the phenomenal success of the ACUPCC and the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Initiative, the time has come for me to move forward.

This opportunity came quite unexpectedly as I was conducting early research into potential next steps in my career path.  I knew it would be rare to find an investment company with the supportive atmosphere and committed team I have enjoyed during my tenure at Second Nature, not to mention difficult to make a transition given the current state of the economy.  I was blessed to connect with my new partners, who understand sustainability deeply and feel a vocation to create meaningful, positive businesses.

I deeply appreciate the experience I have had at Second Nature.  The relationships I have gained, the meaningful work in which I have been engaged, and the mentorship I have received has been incredible.  I thank Tony for his faith in me and for providing me with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.  In addition, I am humbled and moved by the work into which you all have stepped.  The transition to a sustainable society and economy is an immense challenge, and your leadership will be remembered for generations to come.  I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such inspired and committed people, and hope our paths will cross in the future.

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