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Which of these 17 schools Will Win the HACU/Solution Generation Leadership in Climate Change Awareness Award?

By Sharon Chen
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The winner of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)/Solution Generation Leadership in Climate Change Awareness Award will be announced on Monday, October 12, at HACU’s 29th Annual Conference in Miami. The winning HACU-member institution will receive $10,000 to pursue sustainability measures that engage their campus and community, and that demonstrate leadership through example.  

A total of seventeen institutions of higher education have applied for the HACU/Solution Generation Leadership in Climate Change Awareness Award. The spectrum of institutions of higher education is well-represented among the applicants: 6 community colleges, 9 state universities, and 2 private universities submitted applications for the award. These schools serve almost 400,000 students across the United States and Puerto Rico. Many of the campuses have a significant number of Hispanic students, ranging from 40% of the student body to 99%.

These colleges and universities are all also marked by a commitment to sustainability. The majority of campuses offer alternative transportation, so students do not have to drive their cars to get to school, or to get around the campus. There are a total of 45 electric car charging stations on the campuses, and 4 campuses have installed solar panels that generate a significant amount of energy for the schools. Two campuses produce geothermal energy, and 5 schools also offer on-campus gardens that provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. Every campus offers a green courses or majors, and among the 17 applicants, there are a total of 9 LEED-certified buildings.

These sustainability efforts are impressive and inspirational. 

Mt. San Antonio CollegePromote student bus passes for the Foothill regional transit area, and increase bicycle use through new bike paths 

Grossmont College - Expand sustainability curriculum

California State University, Fresno - Build a sustainability center for the school and surrounding community, to be used for teaching and research purposes

California State University, Northridge - Increase student and community involvement in sustainabilty by using award money to fund student- and community-proposed green projects

California State University, Fullerton - Fund positions to update and maintain the sustainability website, and fund stipends for faculty to develop the service-learning goals

California State University, Chico - Provide stipends for ‘student sustainability liaison positions’ within the school's Institute for Sustainable Development

Colorado State University, Pueblo - Create student sustainability ambassador positions to spread awareness about ways to go green, and to create student research assistant positions to research climate solutions for the larger Pueblo community 

College of Lake County - Design an interactive computer program to explain LEED building benefits, and install bilingual signage around the campus to highlight environmentally friendly features 

Moraine Valley Community College - Host a conference of teachers to teach them C3R (Community Climate Change Resilience), and incorporate these green principles into the curriculum of area high schools

Central Community College - Strengthen sustainability program to include a bilingual component, and work more with the surrounding community to implement sustainability measures

Central New Mexico Community College - Fund field trips around the state to provide hands-on sustainable learning experiences for students

Universidad Del Sagrado Corazon - Create a media campaign, flash mob, and educational materials to start a climate change awareness initiative at the school

Rhode Island College - Conduct a greenhouse gas analysis to target future sustainability goals and projects 

University of Texas, Arlington - Fund science education projects at the campus' Institute of Sustainabilit and the Social Climate Change Innovation group, a collaboration with other North Texas organizations to address climate change 

Fort Hays State University - Build a ‘Sustainability Shop’ to fix bikes, and store donated food, furniture, clothes for resale; create a meeting space to teach climate change topics to students and to the surrounding community

Washington and Lee University - Weatherize houses for low-income families 

San Bernardino Community College - create Environmental Clubs on campus - recruit, pay for speakers, field trips, train leaders

To find out which of these schools wins the HACU/Solution Generation Leadership in Climate Change Awareness Award, please check back next week!