Green colleges that offer green degree programs prepare students for the green jobs of today and tomorrow. While students can obtain green jobs training at a non-green school, and green schools provide more than environmental degree programs, combining an environmental education program with a sustainability minded school is a perfect match.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recognizes post-secondary institutions for their commitments to sustainability. AASHE has recently released its choices for the 2009 Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards. The winning schools were chosen from four different categories:

  • Four-year and graduate institutions with over 15,000 full-time students - New York University
  • Four-year and graduate institutions with between 5,000 and 15,000 full-time students - University of New Hampshire
  • Four-year and graduate institutions with less than 5,000 full-time students - Furman University (South Carolina)
  • Community colleges - Butte College (California)
The “Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards are presented annually to institutions that have made the greatest overall commitment to sustainability as demonstrated in their education and research, campus operations, and administration and finance.” Source: AASHE

Butte College is just one of many two-year institutions that are preparing the nation’s workforce for the green jobs revolution. The school offers students the opportunity to earn a Sustainability Studies Certificate and a Green Building Certificate. Additionally, students can join the Student Alliance for Sustainability and take part in on-campus sustainability efforts.

The school goes beyond offering green certificate programs and practices what it preaches. Butte College has a four-acre solar array with more than 10,000 solar panels that has reduced the college’s annual energy bill by 33%. They also have an 80-acre farm with organic produce and a six-acre organic vineyard.

In addition to recognizing schools for their sustainability measures, AASHE also recognizes students for their achievements. Missy Orr, of DePauw University, received the Student Sustainability Leadership Award and graduate students from Stanford University earned the Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award.

More information about the winning schools and students will be printed in the October issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record.

Photo courtesy of Butte College

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