Sustainability and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Student Group @ HCC
USGBC students @ HCC, a new club on campus is empowering students and advancing sustainability. The student leaders met with college officials after conducting research and submitting proposals for water refilling stations, waterless urinals, and a bike share feasibility study on campus.
Ben Fischer, the group’s president stated, "College officials have supported us and worked with us from the beginning." Vice president of administration and finance, Lynn Coleman is delighted students are taking an active role and changing behaviors on campus. The group officially started last fall and is affiliated with The Center for Green Schools at the United States Green Building Council in Washington DC.
Since that time, students have moved forward with initiatives that reduce waste, increase water efficiency and hope to reduce greenhouse gases by implementing a bike share program on campus once the students gather data and support.
Last October, USGBC students at HCC met with local and state officials about a bike share program during Howard County’s Annual Bicycle Forum. Lacy Gaynor-Ohnstad, the secretary treasurer was enthusiastic after talking with Michael Jackson, the director of bicycle and pedestrian access with the Maryland Department of Transportation. She said, "Michael’s expertise and willingness to assist us during the development of the bike share survey was invaluable."
The students scheduled a meeting the director of student life, Llatetra Brown to move forward with the bike share survey. Ms. Brown obtained the approval from the president’s team and the entire student body will have the opportunity to respond to a bike share question on the YESS survey.
After meeting with the students, Chuck Nightingale, executive director of facilities and capital projects, wrote, "It is so great to see our students take an interest in our campus, and really care about the environment. It gives me great hope for the future!"
Refill water bottles on the first floor of Duncan Hall.
Spring break 2012, a group of HCC students traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan (MI) April 2-6 with advisors Brittany Budden and Pam Wallentiny to build LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified houses with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, MI is committed to sustainable building; since 2007 all of its homes have been LEED Certified. While in Grand Rapids, the group worked on two Habitat for Humanity home sites where they implemented sustainable building practices in order to renovate existing, early twentieth century homes that were stripped to their studs. Among their multitude of tasks, the group installed insulation on a home’s exterior, put in new windows and air-sealed both homes’ interior structure to minimize long-term energy use. The group was particularly touched by the stories of the houses’ future owners. In only a few months, one house will become the home of a Sudanese “Lost Boy” and his family, whose lives were turned upside down in Sudan’s civil war over environmental resources. The group was overwhelmed by the opportunity to assist this gentleman in his pursuit of owning an environmentally responsible home. While in Grand Rapids, the local Fox news station came out to do a story on the students. Click here to view a video of the broadcast.