Focusing on our Footprint
What happens when you save $3.6 million in utility costs over eight years, compost 659,857 pounds of food waste and divert 60% of your waste stream from landfills in a single year? Not only do you make Mother Nature smile, but one of North America’s most prestigious collegiate sustainability advocate groups takes notice!
Johnson County Community College has been named a Top Performer in the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, provided by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). JCCC boasts the No. 10 spot among associate college institutions and No. 6 in the United States overall.
This recognition from AASHE acknowledges JCCC’s commitment to setting a local standard, shrinking our ecological footprint and extending environmentally friendly teachings to our community. These initiatives and more are credited to the hard work and dedication of the JCCC Center for Sustainability. Additional projects include:
Composting food waste from the JCCC Food Court to be used on our Open Petal Farm
- Implementing energy efficient light switches, timers and bulbs across campus
- Investing in Earth-friendly landscaping, biodiversity research and stormwater drainage management projects
- Pursuing LEED certified buildings
- Leading numerous recycling efforts on campus
- Adding electric vehicle charging stations and encouraging public transportation
- Providing “Hydration stations” across campus to refill reusable water bottles
- Giving campus sustainability tours that over 4,000 people have taken advantage of this semester alone
“We are perceived in the region as a leader in promoting sustainability,” says Jay Antle, Executive Director of the Center for Sustainability and History Professor. “This ranking is a validation that we are doing good work here. The systems and programs we have in place provide serious and meaningful results. We are not green washing.”
Being the Change
JCCC joined AASHE because it empowers higher education leaders, administrators, faculty, staff and students to be drivers of sustainability breakthroughs.
“We work with and for higher education to ensure our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges,” says Antle, who has been elected by his AASHE peers to be chair for 2020-2021. He will be the first community college member to serve as the organization’s chair. He ran on a platform of bringing more support to community colleges, which provide roughly half of all undergraduate education in the United States.
“My hope is that we will find seed money for many community college programs,” he adds.
Nearly 700 colleges in North America comprise AASHE’s membership base, from community and tribal colleges to state, private and Ivy League universities. Currently, 127 members are community colleges.
“We are happy to recognize JCCC for its leadership in advancing sustainability,” says AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “I’m grateful for the work being done by this institution to help move society toward a more equitable and sustainable future.”