Showing posts with label sustainable. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainable. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

Illustration of Earth and mascot Splashh on a surf board.  Text: Earth Day, 22nd April.

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 in support of environmental protection. The movement began in 1970 and is now celebrated by more than one billion people around the globe-- making it the largest civic observance in the world!

Learn more about the history of Earth Day, the impact it has had and what the movement is trying to do today by visiting

Rio Salado College is committed to its Sustainability Pledge. The college has incorporated sustainability as a core value and has developed several programs and practices that embrace the sociocultural, environmental and economic facets of sustainability. 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. We hope you will join us in this effort.

snapshot of azcentral web page for Earth Day events.  Photo of a big horn sheep by Michael Chow
Here are some suggestions from azcentral on ways to celebrate this special day-- along with captivating images to remind you of how beautiful our landscape and natural wonders can be!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thanks to Feed My Starving Children Volunteers!

Many thanks to all of the Rio Salado and Maricopa Community Colleges students, faculty and staff who volunteered their time on Friday, April 1 to help Feed My Starving Children - Mesa assemble hand-pack meals for malnourished children. 

Feed My Starving Children sends food to malnourished children throughout the world.

For more information visit

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Launch Your Sustainable Food Systems Career!

image of a young woman carrying a basket of carrots walking through a farm.
If you have a passion for food, fair trade and sustainable practices that can benefit our environment-- then consider Rio Salado's Sustainable Food Systems program!

This program of study will teach you about ways to create sustainable food practices, the real food movement, how food is produced and purchased as well as preparation techniques. 

This new video will introduce you to the concept and history of the sustainable food system industry and how you can make a positive impact in this ever-growing field.

Rio Salado's Sustainable Food Systems program is designed for students who work in the food service industry as well as newcomers who do not have a culinary background!

We also encourage you to watch this video, which includes testimonials from recent graduates who talk about the convenience, flexibility and affordability of this program. 

Image of Chef Ken Leonard
Included in the video are remarks from Chef Ken Leonard who runs the kitchen at Madison Street Veterans Association (MSVA), a transitional living facility for homeless veterans. Learn more about Leonard's story in this Maricopa Community Colleges student profile.

Classes start most Mondays!  Get started on your new career path now.  Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Traveling Stone Soup 2015 Begins Dec.10!

Image of Rio Salado Sustainable Food Systems team at Cafe @ Rio holding up a Traveling Stone Soup sign

Rio Salado College and its Sustainable Food Systems team is proud to serve as an official co-sponsor of Traveling Stone Soup 2015! We hope you’ll join us in supporting this community effort to end hunger with Peppermint Jim, Chef Nick and the Tiger Mountain Foundation.

Image of a Stone Soup attendee with a child making a donation
Traveling Stone Soup Feed a Million events will take place Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Sun City Farmer's Market; Friday, Dec. 11 at Mesa Farmer's Market; Saturday, Dec. 12 at Scottsdale Old Town Market and Sunday, Dec. 13 at Ahwatukee Farmer's Market. Visit this event web page for additional details.

Stop by for a bowl of stone soup, bring canned or dry foods and help feed a million!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rewarding Careers in Sustainable Food Systems

image of an instructor and students in a garden

Looking for a new program of study and career option? Consider Rio Salado's Sustainable Food Systems program.

If you support fair trade and local products, have an interest in learning how sustainable practices benefit the environment-- then this Rio Salado program of study is for you!

Learn more by visiting

Here's a new video featuring testimonials from program graduates that shows why this program is perfect for busy, working professionals!

 Classes start Monday! Enroll today.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Renewed Commitment to ‪#‎ClimateLeadership!

Image of MCCCD Executive Council signing sustainability commitment

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Chancellor Rufus Glasper and his Executive Council reaffirmed the Maricopa Community Colleges' commitment to sustainability. Each member signed the 2015 Climate Leadership Network (formerly ACUPCC) Integrated Climate Leadership Commitment.

Rio Salado College is proud to join MCCCD and the Network in their commitment to building a sustainable global future and to renew our pledge to develop innovative, sustainable solutions as a college!

At Rio Salado, sustainability is more than just "thinking green," it's a way of life! 

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children ~ Native American Proverb 

To learn more about our commitment to sustainability, visit

#‎ClimateLeadership #‎ClimateChange‬ ‪#‎HigherEd‬ ‪#‎Sustainability‬ ‪#‎ActOnClimate‬

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrate Earth Day in Tempe

Image of Hodgins in the Rio Salado sustainable garden

Check out the City of Tempe's Earth Day Expo today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tempe City Hall with Rio Salado Director of Sustainable Food Systems Michael Hodgins.

Hodgins will talk about the college’s Sustainable Food Systems program and share tips on how to make sustainable growing and eating a part of your lifestyle.

Image of Tempe Public Works Department Earth Day logo: globe surrounded by green arrows and flora

Here are some other City of Tempe Earth Day events to consider attending:

Rio Salado College is committed to its Sustainability Pledge.  The college has incorporated sustainability as a core value and has developed several programs and practices that embrace the sociocultural, environmental and economic facets of sustainability.

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.

We hope you join us in this effort.

Happy Earth Day.

Interested in a career in Sustainable Food Systems? Visit this web page for more details about our program. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Culinary, Gardening Classes Available at RSC

Sustainable Foods Systems night courses including CUL113 Commercial Baking Techniques, CUL105 Principles and Skills for Professional Cooking, and AGS182 Gardening Practices and Techniques are still open at the RSC Thomas and RSC Tempe locations. Classes begin August 19. Visit to enroll.

Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs for students pursuing a career in food and nutrition or sustainable agriculture. Course topics include basic nutrition, organic foods production, gardening concepts, food safety and security, food entrepreneurship, careers in the field of food and nutrition, sustainable food preparation practices, and food preparation laws for small-scale food businesses.Visit the Rio Salado College Sustainable Food Systems webpage to learn more.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

RSC Gets Cash for Trash with Recycle 1

Virginia Rocha, Lisa Main, Rhonda Sloan, and
Christopher James are part of RSC's recycle team.
Rio Salado College recently kicked off a new recycling program in collaboration with the Recycle 1 family of companies. Participation in the new program allows the college to be paid by the ton for recycled materials.

Rio Salado installed a cardboard baler and a compactor at its Tempe headquarters to improve collection capacity. Recyclable waste from satellite locations will be transported to the main location by the maintenance and operations team.

“We’re excited to be working with Recycle 1,” said RSC Sustainability Coordinator Chris James. “Not only do they accept a wider variety of materials than our previous recycling solution, we are now generating revenue with our recycling efforts.”

The new recycling program will reduce the need to separate materials by using a single stream collection method. This method has been shown to increase participation in the program by simplifying the recycling process.

Acceptable materials for the single stream method include paper, plastic, aluminum and steel. Cardboard is baled separately and not included in the single stream method. Cardboard is, however, discarded in the same area as other recycled materials Glass is also included in recycling efforts but must be separated from other materials.

Employees and community members are also encouraged to bring recyclable materials from home to the college for disposal. Drop off hours are Monday – Friday, 7:00am-9:00am.

“Blue recycle bins will be in place around all of the locations, and the entire community is welcome to bring their recyclables during our daily morning drop off,” James said. “Our maintenance and operations team will be on hand to help with heavy loads.”

When recycling, it is important to rinse beverage and food containers and be aware of what materials will not be accepted.

“There is a list of acceptable materials near each bin because it is important for employees to know what does and does not get recycled,” James said. “If food or other non-recyclable materials are discarded into the recycle bin, it could cause the entire batch to be rejected.”

Recycle 1 staff will be available to answer questions about the program during the 2013 Rio Salado College Earth Day celebration. Planned activities include an electric car showcase, document shredding, E-waste collection, and picnic lunch specials from the Cafe at Rio. The celebration will be held April 23 from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the RSC Tempe parking lot.

Originally published in the April 20 edition of the Tempe Republic. 

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rio Bikers Rally for Tempe Bike to Work Day

Wednesday, April 18 is Tempe Bike to Work Day.  From 6:30 a.m. until 8 a.m. riders can stop by a variety of local businesses to receive a free breakfast and T-shirt (while supplies last).  The Tempe City Council is supporting the annual event with a community bike ride from Whole Foods Market on Rural and Baseline to Ncounter on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. 

Several Rio Salado College employees are advocates for cycling as a form of transportation, exercise and recreation. Here’s what they have to say about it. 

James Paluzzi –Dean, Division of Public Service

    As transportation: “I bike to work every day. I take the light rail from downtown to Washington and Priest then bike the rest of the way.”
    Going green: “I started this sustainable transportation mode six years ago when I was at Colorado Public Radio in Denver. I got rid of my SUV, and continued the train/bike combination ever since. I was fortunate that Phoenix started its light rail service just three months before I started work at Rio Salado in 2009.”
    Even when it rains: “Some days, particularly during our rare bouts of inclement weather, I can put my bike on the 56 Bus that takes me to Washington and 14th Street -- a little less than a mile away from the Tower.”

Matt Freed – Marketing and Public Relations Executive Assistant

    For fitness: “I ride to have fun and stay in shape. I do enter races, but my goal is only to finish the race. I find the culture of competitive cyclists to be very positive and uplifting.”
    Getting started: “If you’d like to get into mountain biking or road riding, it’s important to invest in your bike and some essential gear. I recommend renting a bike from the local bike shop or go to a manufacturer’s demo day to see which type of cycling will suit you. An entry-level mountain bike will costs about $600-$1,000, so you want to make sure it’s what you want. You’ll also need a helmet, gloves, bike shorts, tools for changing a flat, tubes, lube, something to carry your water, and an understanding spouse (you’ll be gone a lot). ”
    Totally worth it: “It’s all worth it. It’s just like being a kid – that feeling of freedom doesn’t go away when you are out there pedaling.”

Eddie Calderon – Website Manager

    Why not?: “I have been riding bikes for a big chunk of my life. I just like to ride.”
    Tips and Tricks: “Plan out your path to avoid busy streets when possible. It’s really a much more enjoyable ride when you’re not jockeying for position with cars. Know how to change a flat tire – just in case. And I would avoid riding from July through mid-September, unless you really like riding in an oven.”
    Fast fact: “If you ride to work at Rio twice a week on a regular basis, you can get free access to the workout center. It’s the best way to clean up for work after a ride.” 

Bri Valdivia – KJZZ Producer, Here and Now

    To save money: “My bike became my main mode of transportation in June of 2008. Gas, car payments and insurance all take up so much cash that I’d rather carefully plan my trips around carpooling, public transportation, and biking.”
    Bonus points: “I get a sense of pride from being able to use my own strength to get from one place to another.”
    Safety advice: “Try to choose routes with bikes in mind and follow the rules. Always ride with traffic, if there's a bike lane DON'T ride on the sidewalk, use hand signals, and stop at stop signs. Also remember to ride defensively, you have to protect yourself from people who aren't paying attention. You may be in the right if someone hits you, but it's better to be alive than right!
    Fashion advice: “Wear a helmet, mussed hair is nothing compared to a head injury. And finally...a simple bandana tied above the knee with pins holding your skirt in place can do wonders.”
    Green with envy: “When you're on a bike (even when you're following rules!) a lot of people will gawk at you, act rude, or try to shout things at you from their motorized vehicles. These people are just intensely jealous of your majestic bicycle.”

Randy Kinkel – KBAQ 89.5 Host

    For exploring: “You don’t have to ride your bike on the same route you would use to drive your car to work. You can usually find quieter side streets to use. You’ll get to know your neighborhood better, you see more things on a smaller, more human scale than when you’re speeding by in your car. You might discover a great new park, shop or restaurant you’d never noticed before – I Have.”
    Epic Gears: “My bike is a vintage 1980s Univega road bike that I converted into a singlespeed. I only live about five miles from work, so I bike when I can to get exercise and save money on gas. I lost 20 lbs, plus it’s fun!”
    Rollin’ With the Homies: As any good Beethoven fan would, Kinkel keeps a bust of the classical composer handy that (coincidently) fits perfectly into his cargo basket.

Angela Ambrosia – Allied Health Faculty Chair

For fun: “I ride almost every day. It’s a chance to get out and meet the neighbors.”
And fitness: “I usually ride alone since my available time is varied. I have the UP wristband by Jawbone that tracks my movement to an iPhone app. Biking counts as exercise and steps. I try to keep around 5,000-10,000 steps a day.
And to impress the neighbors: “They really like my bright pink bike.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Students to Explore Sustainable Concepts in Multi-Media Contest

Students at Rio Salado, an accredited college in Maricopa County, can positively impact the environment and have a chance to win scholarships through participation in Rio Salado College's Dwindling Footprint Sustainability Contest. Participants can submit entries the following formats: comics, games, video, graphic art, original art, interactive multi-media and creative writing. Entries are to be submitted by Sept. 30, 2011.

First, second and third place winners will receive Rio Salado College scholarships in the amounts of $500, $300 and $200, consecutively. The creative exercise is designed to inform and engage students in sustainable practices.

To learn more visit http:/

Monday, February 14, 2011

Buy Local and Fresh at Rio Salado

Tempe residents can now purchase locally-grown organic and pesticide-free produce at Rio Salado as part of the college’s efforts to support sustainability through Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA).

“CSA’s have been around for decades, but have gained steam recently as people look at sustainability and local food movements,” said Elizabeth Cole-Fay, Director of Community Partnerships at Rio Salado.

Rio Salado College serves as a drop-off location for Love Grows Farms. Each week, the farm delivers bags of fresh vegetables and fruits to “share-holders” who participate in the CSA program.

Participants purchase 10-week shares and in return receive a weekly stock of 7-10 produce items in season. Products vary depending on the growing season and harvest. For example, a one-week share might include beets, lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, sprouts, kale and tomatoes.

“I’m always excited about delivery day,” said Maryann Shockley, an administrative assistant at Rio Salado who participates in the CSA program. “It’s like Christmas because you never know exactly what you are going to get.”

Another participant, Heidi Capriotti, marketing coordinator at Sun Sounds of Arizona, also enjoys the surprise of CSA’s weekly delivery.

“I’ve been introduced to some vegetables that I’ve never had before, like Swiss chard,” said Capriotti. “It’s fun getting to try new recipes and expand my culinary vocabulary. But most important, the food is awesome and tastes great.”

Another benefit of the CSA is the availability of several local drop-off sites.

“Who wants to go leave work and have to stop and get groceries?” said Shockley. “This way is so convenient. The produce doesn’t spend a lot of time in transit, and doesn’t have to time to spoil.”

In turn, growers who receive working capital from shareholders receive better prices for their crops and gain some financial security, resulting in a win-win situation for both the grower and the buyer.

Capriotti has always made a conscious effort to live green, so when the local CSA opportunity arose, she jumped aboard.

“I feel like I eat better when I eat organically,” Capriotti said. “And with the CSA, I feel more connected to the local grower and state.”

Taking advantage of local products is one of the principles of the Real Food Movement and ties directly into Rio Salado’s sustainability initiatives.

“We’ve had a lot of success with our sustainability efforts, through academics, our sustainable café and through employee wellness programs,” said Cole-Fay. “We look at the CSA program as a way of embracing sustainability not only at the college, but in the community as well.”

The CSA program is open to members of the public. Produce can be picked up every Wednesday from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Café @ Rio, 2411 W. 14th Street in Tempe. A 10-week share costs $250.

For more information visit