Bellevue College earns national recognition among sustainability leaders in higher education

Date posted: March 26, 2013

Bellevue College’s achievements in improving campus sustainability have earned it a spot in an elite group of just 20 colleges or universities nationwide that have been named finalists for the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards. The awards recognize institutions that best exemplify the mission of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to re-stabilize the earth’s climate through education, research and community engagement. Winners will be selected later this spring by the Second Nature Board of Directors.

“We’re extremely proud of this recognition for the steps our campus has taken to operate in more sustainable ways,” said BC President David L. Rule. “We also know that we have lots of room for improvement, and we’re continually working to find ways to make Bellevue College that much more environmentally friendly.”

In tandem with the awards, Bellevue College is vying for the top spot in a public video voting competition. Beginning April 1 and running through the end of the month, viewers will have the opportunity to vote for the most innovative and groundbreaking institution among the 20 finalists, based on video submissions. All videos, including one BC produced documenting its campus sustainability initiatives, can be viewed and voted on by visiting http://planetforward.org/climate-leadership-awards-2013. Additionally, Bellevue College will be featured in Second Nature’s “Celebrating Sustainability” series on April 1, a web feature that highlights the award finalists.

This is the latest recognition for Bellevue College’s sustainability efforts. Last year, BC received a Governor’s Commute Smart Award and a Diamond Award from Commuter Challenge. Noteworthy initiatives include: the installation of several electric vehicle charging stations, including a rare DC fast charger; a comprehensive project to upgrade campus lighting, water and HVAC systems to substantially reduce energy consumption, incorporating geothermal heating and solar power; programs to encourage alternate means of transport, including a ride-match website to facilitate carpooling; and the integration of sustainability throughout the instructional curriculum combined with a student-created sustainability fund.

Second Nature is a nonprofit co-founded by Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz, to foster a more sustainable environment by transforming the practice of higher education. It is a supporting organization of the ACUPCC, of which Bellevue College is one of more than 650 signatory institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.