Rio Salado College has been named America’s Greenest Campus by Climate Culture on Wednesday for having the highest average of carbon reduction per person. The college also was awarded $5,000 to be put toward green initiatives.
Rio Salado College beat out nearly 500 colleges and universities across the country in the America’s Greenest Campus (AGC) contest, which started in April. All of the participating schools combined to save $4.5 million in energy costs and reduce their collective carbon output by 18.6 million pounds, which is equivalent to the annual amount of carbon emitted by 1,900 cars.
In effect, the award recognizes Rio Salado for having the smallest carbon footprint among all the entrants. Rio Salado’s official carbon footprint, as documented for the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, is .84 tons of C02e.
The miniscule footprint is the result of Rio Salado’s efficient learning formats, which include 550 online courses, in-person classes on-site at corporations and government agencies, and accelerated formats.
America's Greenest Campus is the first nationwide contest among colleges to reduce the carbon footprints of their students, faculty, alumni and staff. AGC partners include Climate Culture, SmartPower, Sierra Student Coalition, National Association of Environmental Law Societies and U.S. Department of Energy.
“Environmental viability is part of the culture at our college,” said Rio Salado President Linda Thor. “We want to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
Rio Salado College is planning to use the money to help fund the Community Garden Project at its main campus, 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe. The community garden will be open to Rio Salado students pursuing a degree or certificate in its Sustainable Foods Program and Rio Salado employees. Food from the garden will be used in the Café @ Rio.
Classes will emphasize the movement toward sustainable food systems, including researching food sources, purchasing locally, and building relationships with local producers. As students progress through the program, they will complete fundamental culinary course work, focus on real food and prepare for hands-on learning experiences in the Café. The Café will work toward a goal of zero-waste.
To learn more about Rio Salado's efforts, click HERE.