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Posts Tagged ‘AIHEC’

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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By James Brey, Director, AMS Education Program and Elizabeth Mills, Associate Director, AMS Education Program
(This article appears in the February, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

The National Science Foundation (NSF) GeoVision report underscores the critical need for increasing public literacy in the geosciences. Daily, Americans learn about threats to the Earth, such as the peril of global climate change and the increasing frequency of natural and manmade hazards.  It is imperative the public gain a deeper understanding of the underlying scientific processes that influence these events. It also is essential that our educational system and workforce reflect our diversity as a nation.

To this end, NSF is supporting a long-term partnership between American Meteorological Society (AMS) and Second Nature to introduce the AMS Climate Studies course to 100 Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) nationwide.  The course is a ready-made way for MSIs to strengthen the curriculum component of their ACUPCC Climate Action Plans and provide students with an up-to-date study of climate science, including global change and sustainability issues.

Faculty members are invited to an expenses-paid, five-day course implementation workshop in Washington, DC, to learn the latest in climate science. The implementation workshop, offered annually for a four-year period beginning in May 2012, will leverage the climate expertise of scientists from NASA, NOAA, and many other DC area educational and research institutions.  NASA supported the development of AMS Climate Studies and the course is rich with real world and current Earth Observing System data. Faculty are also invited to attend a diversity workshop and present their AMS Climate Studies course experience at the AMS Annual Meeting.

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By Al Kuslikis, STEM Associate, American Indian Higher Education Consortium and Beau Mitchell, Sustainability Coordinator, College of Menominee Nation
(This article appears in the February, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and its Tribal College and University (TCU) membership are actively engaged in promoting sustainability both on their campuses and within the communities they serve.  TCUs are ideally situated to play a leadership role in developing and promoting sustainable practices within their respective communities and nationally.  There are no higher education institutions more closely engaged with addressing the economic development, public health, workforce development, and research needs of their communities.  As tribal institutions, they are particularly well-positioned to draw on and reinforce the traditional practices that have sustained their people for countless generations before European contact, and which can inform our collective efforts to respond to the sustainability challenges of today.

Navajo Technical College students demonstrating a wind turbine they designed for homes

Tribal colleges are responding to the call for leadership.  Northwest Indian College in Bellingham Washington has developed a bachelors’ of science degree program in Native Environmental Science that integrates traditional understandings of natural phenomena with the Western scientific paradigm.  Blackfeet Community College in Browning Montana has developed an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Natural Resource Management specifically to support the tribe’s commitment to alternative energy, especially wind, and is currently meeting 50% of its electricity needs through wind energy. Little Big Horn College is partnering with Montana State University in researching the use of nitrogen fixing bacteria to sequester carbon released in the coal liquefaction process.  Navajo Technical College is working with Arizona State University and the Navajo Nation to customize photovoltaic systems that are optimized for the environmental conditions and electricity use patterns of Navajo families in Arizona and New Mexico.  Those last two examples are projects funded by the US Department of Energy through the American Indian Research and Education Initiative (AIREI).  AIREI is an important effort to connect tribal communities, tribal colleges, regional universities, and the DOE National Laboratories in developing and implementing energy research designed to support tribal energy priorities.

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“Let us put our minds together and see what life we will make for our children”

– Sitting Bull

The second of three Green Building Learning Institutes is being held in Minneapolis, MN with strong representation from tribal colleges in the region.

The highlight of the opening reception last night was an incredible dance performance from Larry Yazzie of Native Pride Dancers and his eleven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.  Learning about their work of preserving these cultural traditions and passing them on to the next generation was a powerful reminder of the importance preserving a suitable habitat for humans on this planet and a global society that fosters, not destroys, a diversity of human cultures.

We also heard from Dr. Karl Reid who head Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives for UNCF and Minneapolis City Councillor, Robert Lilligren, who talked about a host of exciting sustainability initiatives, including installing the largest green roof in the state and being recognized as the country’s number one biking city last year.

So far the event promises to be an excellent venue for networking and accelerating the great work that is being done in tribal communities and communities of color – and particularly the institutions of higher education that serve those communities – to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society.

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