Five colleges and universities and one high school from across the United States have been awarded national recognition as winners of the National Wildlife Federation's annual Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus competition. This award program is America's leading competition to honor schools that design and implement creative approaches to advance sustainability on campus.
The "National Wildlife Federation applauds the efforts of these young innovators who are so energized to protect their future and the future of our planet's natural resources," says Jeremy Symons, Senior Vice President of Conservation and Education for National Wildlife Federation. "The educators and students have proved it is possible to significantly reduce the pollution that is fueling global warming, and they are creating a clean energy workforce that is prepared to help decrease our country's dependence on oil."
Chill Out participants are inspirational examples of effective and innovative ways to substantially decrease campus carbon footprints, conserve resources and save money. The winning initiatives address the broad spectrum of sustainability challenges, including creating viable solar powered homes, improving school and community energy efficiency, coordinating university-wide curricula and programs and increasing recycling among fans at sporting events.
Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School (New York, NY) is implementing a multi-phase effort to improve energy efficiency in the school and the local community, beginning with educating students on energy auditing. After learning the fundamentals, students are engaging with the community to inform them about their energy options and designing efficiency measures for their school building that will save on both funds and energy emissions.
Baylor University (Waco, TX) students are working to improve the footprint of their sports program by educating fans on the benefits of recycling. Through student and community volunteer participation, one-on-one communication and strategic advertising, this program has tripled the amount of plastic and aluminum recycled at home games and diverted 6.5 tons of trash from the waste stream.
Central Carolina Community College's (Pittsboro, NC) Green Building and Renewable Energy Program is dedicated to training instructors for sustainable industries and the new green workforce to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and create new jobs. Students and faculty host an eco-business trade show and tours of farms and green homes, showcasing the growing green industries in the region.
Innovative Research and Design Technology Category
Missouri University of Science and Technology's (Rolla, MO) student-run Solar Team creates attractive and energy-efficient solar powered homes to compete in the international Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The team also displays its designs closer to home, at the Solar Village in Rolla, MO.
Montreat College's (Montreat, NC) student leadership team, SEEDS, engages with the student body, administration and local community in a variety of visionary initiatives, such as the Residence Energy Challenge and the Garden of Eatin'. By encouraging students to reduce their energy consumption and providing both gardening skills and fresh produce to the campus and community, SEEDS serves as an ongoing sustainability resource.
Eastern Mennonite University's (Harrisonburg, VA) student, faculty, and staff-run Creation Care Council provides a forum to coordinate campus-wide sustainability efforts. The Council's initiatives integrate a theology of caring for the Earth with activities aimed at improving education, community gardening, recycling and composting, and energy efficiency in transportation, infrastructure, and grounds and buildings.
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.