American colleges and universities, including Haywood Community College, have made substantial capital and intellectual investments in the cause of economic and environmental sustainability. Now, it is possible to see their innovative efforts, from renewable energy systems to sustainable campus farms, with a single online resource.

National Wildlife Federation’s campus sustainability case study database, the only catalog of its kind, is available online now at www.nwf.org/campuscasestudies thanks in part to the support of The Kendeda Fund. Close to 100 new case studies were added for 2011, highlighting efforts to dramatically reduce pollution, waste and costs, including recycling, energy efficiency improvements, alternative transportation systems and green jobs training programs.

For 2011, Haywood Community College submitted a case study featuring a Sustainable Dining Experience. HCC utilizes compostable utensils, cups, napkins, and plates in the Dining Area. Students, faculty and staff place compostable materials along with food waste into a designated composting bin within the Dining Area. The Grounds team takes the compost to our composting facility which is then composted to produce useable soil and associated compost material. The soil and compostable material is then brought to our Horticulture organic garden plot. The Horticulture program then utilizes the material into the soil which they then grow into organic produce. The produce is consumed in the Dining Area by students, faculty and staff. The process then starts all over again. All food that cannot be consumed is brought to Helping Hands in Haywood County to feed the needy.

In addition to the 2011 submissions, the database includes more than 600 case studies from campuses across the U.S. spanning more than a decade.

Published each year since 1989, NWF’s Campus Ecology sustainability case study database has become an indispensable resource for students, faculty, administrators, community leaders and others interested in the role of colleges and universities in protecting the public health and welfare by reducing waste, pollution and congestion in their communities. The database is searchable by topic, year and school, and includes information on each college’s project goals, successes, challenges, funding strategies and project leaders.

“American colleges and universities lead the way on sustainability, as in numerous other areas,” said Kristy Jones, senior manager of Campus Ecology at National Wildlife Federation and the director of the case study initiative. “It is encouraging to see so many of their most inspired ideas in one place, where we hope a great cross-pollination of ideas and action will occur among schools throughout the U.S. and beyond.”  

“The Sustainable Dining Experience at HCC provides a visual example and interactive opportunity to the students, community and various government institutions that being sustainable does not cost money, in fact it reduces operational cost all the while reducing our impact on the environment, locally and globally,” says Preston Jacobsen, HCC Sustainability Analyst. “Sustainability is not a catch phrase at HCC, but rather a lifestyle and state of mind as we strive to become a carbon neutral campus through sustainability initiatives found within our curriculum, infrastructure, grounds, community and of course our graduates who represent this institution.”

NWF’s Campus Ecology program works with several hundred campuses nationwide each year on efforts to advance student leadership, reduce carbon pollution and support career education. The program staff provides support through consultation, speakers, webinars, online educational resources, recognition, national and regional climate action events, campus-based fellowships, and volunteer and paid internships for students and graduates.

Since its formation in 1936, National Wildlife Federation has worked with state affiliate organizations across the country to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for future generations. NWF seeks to engage and educate its 4 million members, partners and supporters with a focus on restoring habitat, confronting global warming and connecting people with nature.

Per HCC’s Sustainability Policy, the college shall teach, demonstrate and use sustainable technologies that promote the economic, environmental and social health of the College and the communities it serves.

For more information on Sustainability Initiatives and Educational offerings at HCC, contact Jacobsen at 828-565-4033 or pjacobsen@haywood.edu.