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L&C’s Green Commitments Pave Way for New Partnerships

Article by: Louise Jett, ljett@lc.edu
GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is dedicated to reaching the goal of campus carbon neutrality by 2058. The college has recently forged some new green partnerships as a way to advance its commitment to sustainability. 

For several years, L&C’s Dining Services has been composting food waste on campus. In April 2014, the college took it a step further by adding “post-consumer” composting. In addition to “back of the house” composting, L&C students, staff and faculty can now compost food waste leftover from meals, helping the kitchen become a nearly zero-waste operation.

All food, and even the compostable dinnerware, is now being hauled off by Always Green Recycling, and taken to St. Louis Composting, where it becomes the black gold people put on their gardens every year. 

L&C recently became a “We Compost” partner of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition. “We Compost” is a recognition program that promotes businesses and institutions that participate in a commercial compost program. Its goals are to highlight entities that compost and encourage more people to patronize businesses managing their food scraps responsibly.

L&C also joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership program. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. 

The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as large companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

Thin-film solar panels were recently installed on the roof of Trimpe. The Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) awarded L&C a grant for the solar panels. IGEN covers 60 percent of the cost and L&C is picking up the remaining 40 percent. Lewis and Clark also installed cutting edge solar panels in July to offset some of the electricity usage on campus. These “trackable” solar panels move with the sun to capture the most light possible throughout the day. The new solar technologies provide 30 percent of the Trimpe building’s daily power. 

Thanks to Ameren, L&C was the recipient of one of the nation’s first alternative energy, state-of-the-art fuel cells, which was installed on the Godfrey campus in April 2014. L&C’s fuel cell generates 5kW power, while providing a teaching opportunity for L&C faculty in an important alternative energy technology.

To support the deployment of electronic vehicle infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched the Workplace Charging Challenge, with a goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging in the next five years. L&C has accepted the challenge and joined as a partner. 

L&C has installed electric vehicle charge stations and provided them free of charge to both campus and regional community members. The Godfrey campus currently has two charge stations, one at the “cabin lot” near the Nursing Building, and another in the parking lot between River Bend Arena and the Math Building. The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center's Confluence Field Station also has a charge station.

“Part of our responsibility in striving toward campus carbon neutrality involves making policy changes and commitments to organizations like these,” said L&C Sustainability Director Nate Keener. “By signing on with Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, we are cementing our long-term commitment to make progress in workplace charging, green power purchasing and composting.”

To learn more about L&C’s commitment to sustainable practices, visit www.lc.edu/green or contact Sustainability Director Nate Keener at (618) 468-2782.