April 20, 2011—North Central College is pledging to achieve the state’s highest recognition for energy-saving and environmentally friendly initiatives by being among the first institutions of higher education in Illinois to seek gold status under a new Sustainability Compact.
College President Harold R. Wilde signed the compact April 18, saying the pledge is a fitting part of North Central’s yearlong celebration of its Sesquicentennial.
“We’ve always been an institution that has had a waste-not, want-not ethic,” Wilde said. “You can’t solve the problems in the world unless you first solve the problems in your own house.”
The Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact outlines environmental goals that colleges and universities—both public and private—may adopt on their campuses. The Compact includes objectives such as purchasing renewable energy, implementing green building practices, developing sustainable transportation options, improving water conservation and incorporating sustainable dining practices. Participating institutions are recognized by the state for achieving bronze, silver or gold status, depending on level of commitment. North Central is pledging to achieve gold status.
“Only a handful of campuses so far have sought gold status,” said Eric Heineman, sustainability policy advisor for Gov. Pat Quinn. “Pat Quinn started this program when he was lieutenant governor, and as governor he would commend your campus for leading by example.”
North Central is the 31st college or university in the state to sign the new compact, Heineman said. The College previously signed a Sustainability Compact in 2008, but the state has revamped the process.
At North Central College, sustainability is the collective effort of students, faculty, staff and visitors working toward the development of a socially just, environmentally responsible and economically functional campus community. The College’s sustainability strategy incorporates alternative transportation options, green-friendly buildings and landscape practices, commitment and involvement, policies that encourage reducing usage of energy and water, practices that promote recycling and reduce waste, and encourage sustainability in dining hall operations.
“Students are hearing about sustainability initiatives the minute they set foot on campus, and those concepts stay with them all the way through graduation,” said Abby Hahne, the College’s sustainability coordinator.
Sustainability highlights in recent years include the elimination of trays in the dining hall; the creation of a community garden; the opening of the Residence Hall/Recreation Center, which is designed to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards; implementation of the Cardinal Red Bike Program, which makes bicycles available to students on a per-term basis for free; participation in the Zipcar program, which allows students, faculty and staff to reserve a car online or by mobile phone; and implementation of the Cardinal Shuttle to encourage ride-sharing transportation.
“I’m very proud to be part of a community that has made such a commitment to sustainability,” said Jeff Anstine, associate professor of management and cochair of the the College’s Sustainability Committee.
Contact: Ted Slowik, director of PR and media relations, 630-637-5307