Georgia Southern University has been included on the prestigious 2018 Green Ribbon Schools list by the U.S. Department of Education for its environmental accomplishments. Areas of recognition include sustainability, health, physical education, safety policies, food service and environmental and sustainability curriculum.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for our sustainability accomplishments,” said Lissa Leege, Ph.D., Center for Sustainability director. “We have made great strides in recent years toward water conservation and energy efficiency measures, as well as working toward a culture of sustainability at Georgia Southern through education and action. This award supports those efforts and gives us encouragement to implement even more green initiatives as our University grows and changes.”
Notably, Georgia Southern students had the vision to develop and vote for a student sustainability fee that has supported significant investment in innovative sustainability solutions on the Statesboro campus. The fee funds an array of projects from electric vehicle charging stations to vertebrate biodiversity surveys to bioswale development and LED lighting upgrades.
Through the works of the Division of Facilities Services, the University has offset approximately eight million kilowatt-hours of energy over the past five years, or enough to provide energy for 643 homes for one year. The University also utilizes reuse water to irrigate parts of campus, saving up to 200,000 gallons of drinking water in a single day.
“We are thrilled to be selected for a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools postsecondary sustainability award, which demonstrates our focus on becoming a national leader in sustainability,” said Associate Vice President of Facilities Kathryn Twining, CEFP. “This achievement would not have been possible without the partnerships and commitment to sustainable practices by all departments on campus that make the University operate more efficiently, which results in a healthier environment for our students.”
Across the country, 46 schools, six districts and six postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness and ensure effective sustainability education.
“Practicing sustainability impacts the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff greatly,” said University Wellness Director Michele Martin. “This includes the air we breathe, water we drink, food we consume and the energy we expend. The University Wellness Program is proud to be in partnership with the Center for Sustainability to bring programs to campus like the Campus Farmers Market Festival, nationally known speakers and No Impact Week, among others. We strive to educate the campus community on sustainable practices in order to create a healthier person and environment. Ultimately, we believe this helps our students achieve academic success.”
The honorees were selected from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.
“I commend each school, district and institution of higher education for their efforts to create a healthy, safe and cost-efficient learning environment for students, faculty and staff,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “These schools have done innovative work to help prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century while also teaching them how to be good stewards of the environment.”
For the full list of all 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools honorees, visit https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/awards.html.