Cool Schools: Philly's Sustainable College Scene

As a college student from the Philadelphia area (Temple University), I have witnessed how students engage in activities that help bring awareness to environmental issues. It is these inspirational actions that make me realize that when individuals come together for a common goal, things can be accomplished. Many students are working hard to get their college or universities to take positive steps, whether it is putting more recycling bins at various locations, creating student organizations with a focus on the environment, or inspiring others to follow the green movement -- all for the greater good of society.

These initiatives invite the general public to tag along, and the students pushing for them will be taking lessons with them as they prepare to transition from college to the work force.

One of the main concerns on the minds of students today is global warming, and many are coming together to convince their schools to revise policies and restructure operations so that their colleges can become a piece of the overall solution.   

Let’s looks at what some of the colleges around Philly have been doing:

University of Pennsylvania: On September 15, 2009, the University revealed its "Climate Action Plan", a comprehensive strategy to concentrate on the reduction of the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions. In order to carry out this plan, a partnership between the institution and individuals is necessary to build a culture of sustainability and accountability.

Community College of Philadelphia: CCP has embarked on a $31 million development and redesign of its northeast Regional Center. This multifaceted project is expected to create the first nationally certified, “green” college facility in Philadelphia.

Temple University: The Temple Library Prize for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability and the Environment was establish by Temple Libraries and Gale to push forth the use of library’s resources in order to boost the development of library research methods, and to spotlight to the best research projects created each year by Temple University undergraduate students. The program was created in the 2010-2011 academic year, and an award of $1,000 will be given to two projects each year. (The submission deadline for this year's prize is March 30, 2011 at 5 p.m.!)

Drexel University: During the winter of 2007, Drexel committed to decreasing water consumption by installing restricted-flow shower heads and aerators in all facilities across campus. These highly useful water conservation endeavors displayed simple and fairly inexpensive approaches to saving water.

La Salle University: A sustainable development series has been created by The Explorer Connection to raise awareness about, and educate students on sustainability issues. The objective of the series is to incorporate sustainability into La Salle courses to assist students in gaining a deeper understanding of the natural world. This will help students integrate their education with the real world.