Over the last few years, Salt Lake Community College has worked to go green and improve the sustainability of its resources.
This year, the college has an aggressive plan to further increase its level of sustainability.
Adam Dastrup, head of the SLCC Sustainability Committee, has been tasked with driving a college-wide sustainability assessment using a database that is nationally recognized and used by other schools.
“This is the first time SLCC has ever done a systematic assessment of sustainability,” says Dastrup. “The more efficient we are with energy, the more money we save which can go back into the school.”
Dastrup will assess facilities to ensure they are properly recycling and encourage them to switch to natural gas machines if possible.
He will also look at the SLCC car fleet and take inventory of hybrid and natural gas vehicles, and how efficiently the cars are being used by staff.
Food services will be assessed to see where waste is going and what can be turned into green waste
Finally, Dastrup will develop curriculum to teach green initiatives to both students and faculty. His collected data will be shared with school leaders to see where SLCC is successful, and where the school can improve.
“After we find out what holes we have, we can ask for more money to fix those holes and in the long run, help SLCC improve its sustainability,” says Dastrup
The goal is to strategically plan how sustainable SLCC can be over the next five to 10 years. This type of strategic planning can already be seen in the construction of the new administration building, which was designed to meet high environmental standards.
SLCC’s recent efforts to reduce its environmental footprint have not gone unnoticed
The college won Utah Business magazine’s 2011 Green Business Award by initiating a student fee funded recycling program that employed SLCC students to pick up plastics and aluminum around campus and provided recycling bins for student use.
“SLCC has one of the best recycling programs among colleges in the state of Utah,” says Dastrup.
Additionally, SLCC started a series of student-driven gardens to not only to grow organic produce but also help create a sense of community.
“It doesn’t matter who you are when you are gardening; it brings everyone in the college from the staff and students to the president together working as one,” says Dastrup.
Different student clubs and departments maintain various gardens around the Taylorsville Redwood Campus
The community gardening program was initially funded by Grainger District, and Grainger donated an additional $20,000 this year due to the continued success of the gardens.
The donation will help to maintain two gardens at the Redwood campus and help to grow a garden at the Jordan campus. There are plans in place to create a fourth garden at the South City campus later this year.