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Posts Tagged ‘HBCU’

By Jacqueline J. Palmer, Facilities Coordinator, Bowie State University
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerBowie State University has undertaken several endeavors to go “green” and increase its sustainability through its Climate Control Commitment Committee (C4), not the least of which is its partnership with the Toyota Green Initiative to foster sustainable living and thinking among its students. The Toyota Green Initiative (TGI) is an environmental stewardship platform designed to empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students and alumni on the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle.   The success of a Bowie State University and TGI partnership is predicated on both entities’ keen focus on a partnership supported by engaged leadership, which in turn will foster enhanced sustainability awareness at Bowie State University.

By its nature a sustainable lifestyle necessitates a change in mindset, thus the acceptance of sustainability practices as routine requires leadership intervention and engagement. Further, the partnership will be foundational for fostering green practices targeting students, faculty and staff at the university.  It is within this vein that the launch of the TGI was held during the 2010 Homecoming at Bowie State University, the first stop in a cross-country HBCU tour through a partnership with the CIAA and the BET Black College Tour.

As with any institution, leaders must model the way for their followers. In this regard, Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim, and Dr. Karl Brockenbrough, Vice President for Administration and Finance, were on hand to welcome John Ridgeway, corporate manager of Toyota Financial Services, and participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the BSU greenhouse in December 2012.  In addition to serving as a learning forum for BSU students specifically and the campus community generally, the greenhouse now serves as a conservatory for nurturing and cultivating flowers for future planting as part of the campus landscape.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was a precursor to a one day, fully immersive TGI event held at Bowie State University, President Burnim and his cabinet members were actively involved in the student-focused lecture series, recycling and other activities relating to sustainability as a way of life, and a greenhouse re-planting activity undertaken during the event. Student groups separated and replanted 87 day lilies and 16 irises, which will yield upward of 250 perennials in the spring for replanting as part of the campus landscape. The outcome of these efforts will serve to decrease the carbon footprint of the campus.

Student involvement in the TGI recycle portion of the event yielded upward of 7,000 pounds or over 3 tons of recyclable materials to include:

  • Plastic: 5,365 lbs.
  • Aluminum: 1,172 lbs.
  • Paper: 367 lbs.
  • Clothing: 21 lbs.
  • Glass: 267 lbs.

The TGI team reported that the recycle drive at Bowie State University resulted in the highest amount of items collected from any particular HBCU during our 2012 campus tour.  The successful generation of recyclable material at Bowie State University is unsurprising given that the university has participated in the National Recyclemania competition for the past six years. In addition, the C4 committee, led by Dr. Brockenbrough, has been instrumental in staging Earth Day, Recycle Week, and lectures to move the Bowie State University community toward adopting sustainability as a way of life.  These efforts, coupled with the burgeoning TGI partnership, are serving to foster purposefulness in attaining and sustaining green sensibility.

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

ACUPCC ImplementerThere has never been such a critical need for educating today’s undergraduates on Earth’s changing climate and pathways to sustainability.  The footprints of climate change surround us – Arctic sea ice reached its record lowest extent in August 2012, the 10 warmest years in the global climate record have occurred since 1997, and global sea level continues to rise (1). Climate change is also predicted to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, which combined with sea-level rise, may lead to more natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy (1, 2, 3).

It is imperative to develop a scientific workforce ready to tackle the challenge of climate change in light of the new energy economy and various societal and political factors. The National Science Foundation (NSF) underscores the need for increasing public literacy in the Earth System Sciences, including climate science literacy, and preparing a highly skilled scientific workforce reflecting the nation’s diversity (4, 5).

To promote climate science literacy and geoscience diversity, NSF is supporting a long-term partnership between Second Nature and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Education Program that will introduce the AMS Climate Studies course to 100 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) over a five-year period (6).  AMS is now enrolling 25 MSI faculty members to attend the expenses-paid Course Implementation Workshop in Washington, DC, from May 19-24, 2013.

The Implementation workshop leverages the expertise of NASA, NOAA, and Howard University climate scientists, as well as faculty from George Mason University and James Madison University, both signatories to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The 2013 AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project informational website and application form are available online. The deadline for application is March 15, 2013.

The AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project aligns with the goals of the ACUPCC and supports the diversity initiatives of Second Nature. The AMS-Second Nature partnership is enabling signatories to strengthen the curriculum component of their ACUPCC Climate Action Plans.  Faculty members representing 28 MSIs attended the inaugural Course Implementationamsbrochure-larger Workshop in May 2012 and are introducing the climate course at their local institutions this academic year.  The 2012 cohort included 9 signatory MSIs: California State University Monterey Bay, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Jones County Junior College, Monroe Community College (NY), Morgan State University (MD), New Mexico State University, New Mexico State University – Grants Campus, and South Mountain Community College (AZ).

AMS Climate Studies is closely tied to campus wide sustainability efforts. As Professor Mintesinot Jiru (Coppin State University) explains, “this course alone will enlighten our students with the contemporary issues of climate and impact of climate change. The course is a good addition to the other sustainability related courses we have on campus. It will strengthen our effort to infuse sustainability education in our curriculum. I am working with our Associate Vice President for Government and Public Policy, who is also in charge of sustainability initiative on campus, to ensure that what we do in the classroom is also reflected on our campus-wide sustainability initiative.”

Professor Jason Szymanski of Monroe Community College is also connected to his college’s Climate Action Plan. “Indeed this course will promote awareness of, and engage students in, sustainable, college-wide actions. I am working with the College’s Sustainability Steering Committee to support the College’s Action Plan. For example, written into the curriculum of the course is a component that highlights sustainable practices on campus including our ride-share program, our new LEED Certified building, electrical co-generation facility, and recycling initiatives. Students will also be taught carbon-reducing practices that they can incorporate into their day to day routines.”

Faculty members are drawn to the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project for many reasons. Some are key players in their Climate Action Plan development and implementation. Others, like Professor Michael Leach of New Mexico State University – Grants Campus, want to educate their students about climate science topics using current data with the sustainability connection as a plus.  As Professor Leach explains, “I was not aware that our college was an ACUPCC signatory when I applied for the Climate Diversity Project, however I was aware that we were involved in some type of sustainability program, as I had to report if my classes had a sustainability component. That is easy to report for my AMS classes. I chose climate studies for many reasons, but the fact that it would help my students understand the complexities of climate, and the human factors involved in climate change were tops on my list. I feel it is extremely important for all college graduates to have broad general knowledge of climate change, as it is their generation that is going to be involved in helping to fix the problem.”

AMS Climate Studies is a course package available to undergraduate institutions nationwide. The course can be offered by science faculty with a range of backgrounds, within various learning environments from face-to-face to online instruction. Developed by AMS staff scientists and science educators, the course includes a comprehensive 15-chapter textbook, an Investigations Manual with 30 laboratory-style activities, a course website containing current science investigations and real-time data, and a faculty website and resource CD. Course activities and test banks are provided in Respondus format that can be ported into a course management system for automated scoring and immediate student feedback.

Faculty fit the course into different departments and levels depending on their local college requirements. For example, Professor Constance Falk of New Mexico State University plans to first offer the course in spring 2013 as a senior level honors class. She explains that “the course will be open to all majors and focus on science, policy, and politics.” Professor Chunlei Fan of Morgan State University first offered the course as a “498” internship class in fall 2012 and awaits full course approval. Professor Szymanski has the 4-credit sequence of Climate Change with a laboratory approved at a 200-level.  Many others implement the course at the introductory undergraduate level.

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References:

(1)    American Meteorological Society (Adopted 20 August 2012) “Climate Change: An Information State of the American Meteorological Society” Boston, MA: American Metrological Society, http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html

(2)    National Research Council, 2012. “Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices. “ Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=14674

(3)    Kahn, Brian.”Superstorm Sandy and Sea-level Rise.” 5 November 2012. NOAA ClimateWatch Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2012/superstorm-sandy-and-sea-level-rise

(4)    National Science Foundation (2012) Strategic Frameworks for Education & Diversity, Facilities, International Activities, and Data & Informatics in the Geosciences http://www.nsf.gov/geo/acgeo/geovision/geo_strategic_plans_2012.pdf

(5)    NSF Advisory Committee for Geosciences (2009) Geovision Report http://www.nsf.gov/geo/acgeo/geovision/nsf_ac-geo_vision_10_2009.pdf

(6)    Brey, James. “American Meteorological Society and Second Nature Partner to Strengthen Climate Sustainability-Focused Curricula at Minority-Serving Institutions.” February 2010. Advancing Education for Sustainability. Retrieved from… https://secondnaturebos.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/american-meteorological-society-and-second-nature-partner-to-strengthen-climate-and-sustainability-focused-curricula-at-minority-serving-institutions/

The following authors also contributed to this article:
Kira Nugnes, Program Assistant, AMS
Kathryn O’Neill, Content Specialist, AMS
Maureen Moses, Program Assistant, AMS

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by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Georges Dyer

On Thursday, April 7th, 2010, an historic event took place in Atlanta, GA – Spelman College, on their Founders Day, unveiled the first LEED certified building for new construction on an historically black college, achieving a LEED Silver rating.

Dr. Beverly Tatum (President), Art Fraiser (Director of Facilities Management), and David Freidman (US Green Building Council representative) spoke about the efficient features of the building, such as non-toxic and repurposed materials, efficient HVAC systems, a white roof (to reduce heat gain), and efficient lighting.

The Spelman ceremony (and student-guided tours of the building) also served as the kick-off for first of three Building Green Learning Institutes in 2010 developed by the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building and made possible by the Kresge Foundation.

This program demonstrated what a ground-swell of activity there is around sustainability on HBCU campuses. Despite disproportion barriers, they are ahead of the curve in many ways, and poised to lead the way forward towards a sustainable society.  It also set the stage for the next two Building Green Learning Institutes in Minneapolis, MN from May 6-8, 2010 and in San Antonio, TX from June 10-12, 2010.  The Minneapolis event will focus on tribal colleges, many of which are also out in front in terms of sustainability.  More details are available at www.campusgreenbuilder.org/BldgGreenMSIs

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by Ashka Naik, Program Manager, Advancing Green Building in Higher Education, Second Nature

Ashka Naik - Second NatureEarlier this month, I traveled to Nashville, TN, where I attended the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) Member University Professional Institute, “2010 HBCUs* and Beyond.” Felicia Davis, Director of UNCF‘s Facilities and Infrastructure Enhancement program invited me to join her at this event.

We had a two-fold mission in attending this meeting, one part of which was to make new connections. Public HBCUs (around 50 member schools of TMCF) often remain severely under-represented in Second Nature’s programs; only 9 of these 50 institutions are ACUPCC signatories. Therefore, we wanted to seize the opportunity to engage this group of higher education institutions and share details about our activities. With the help of two enthusiastic attendees, I made the acquaintance of several interesting individuals. Renford Brevett, Director of Title III Programs at Lincoln University, introduced me to more than 20 leaders including presidents, provosts, deans, CFOs, and faculty members. Felicia Davis and I also presented at one of the panels, “Building Green at HBCUs,” during which we discussed the challenges HBCUs face while building green and how Second Nature’s capacity-building programs could help them overcome these barriers.

The other part of our two-fold mission was to spread the word about UNCF’s Building Green Learning Institutes.

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