Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RSC Promotes a Culture of Sustainability

Vehicle charging stations available at RSC Downtown 
At Tempe-based Rio Salado College, going green is more than just a marketing slogan. The college takes a broad view of its environmental responsibility and has integrated sustainability as a core value within the culture of the entire organization.

“Rio Salado takes a holistic approach to sustainability,” said Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College President. “One that aligns knowledge with practices of economic, environmental, and social sustainability across disciplines in order to prepare students to think, live, and work in ways that will preserve or improve the environment.”

Rio provides access to 31 courses that deal with the social, cultural, ecological and economical elements of sustainability and offers an academic certificate in Sustainability and Ecological Literacy. Students can also choose a degree or certificate in sustainable food systems.

To further illustrate its commitment, the Rio Salado Sustainability Pledge is included in the program for the school’s GED graduation and college commencement ceremonies.

It’s not just a matter of teaching others how to be sustainable. Rio Salado strives to be a leader in environmental responsibility by incorporating earth-friendly practices throughout its daily operations.

Rio Salado became a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007 by vowing to reduce the carbon footprint of the institution and seek climate neutrality. In support of that goal, the college released its Climate Action Plan in 2008.

Since then, Rio has earned a Silver Rating for Sustainability from the national Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Reporting System. The college has also fostered collaboration among institutions of higher education through participation in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN).

Rio’s commitment to sustainability is evident in nearly every aspect of the planning, construction and maintenance of its new downtown Phoenix location.

“We are pleased to work and partner with a number of community leaders and organizations to make the vision of Rio Downtown and its focus on sustainability a reality,” Bustamante said.

During construction, over 90% of all construction waste was collected and recycled. The building has several energy saving features including LED lighting, native and low-water use landscaping and an innovative grey water system that reduce the use of potable water for irrigation, and highly calibrated CO2 sensors that maximize energy efficiency and indoor air quality by limiting outdoor air intake when carbon dioxide levels are acceptable.

As part of the Maricopa Community College District, Rio Salado is also helping establish crucial infrastructure for the next generation of transportation by making electric vehicle charging stations available to the public at its satellite locations throughout the valley.