News | September 20, 2016

LearningNewsUndergraduate Studies

Sustainability initiatives earn statewide kudos

FGCU has been recognized by Sustainable Florida for its comprehensive efforts to promote and practice sustainability in operations and education.

The university received the 2016 Sustainable Florida Best Practices Award in the universities and colleges competition category on Sept. 15 at the Working on the Green Sustainability Summit in Fort Lauderdale. FGCU was also a finalist in the government and leadership categories.

Sustainable Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and expanding sustainability practices of business, government, higher education, and citizens working to address opportunities and challenges relating to economic growth, environmental quality, and social capital in Florida. Since 2010, Sustainable Florida has recognized organizations that contribute significantly to sustainability initiatives in the state.

In presenting the award, Sustainable Florida’s Selection Committee noted that FGCU serves as a national leader in campus and community-based sustainability initiatives. It praised the university’s “outstanding achievements and excellence in helping to create a sustainable economic, environmental and social future for Florida.”

FGCU leads by example, blending operational and academic pursuits in sustainability. Some of the university’s energy efficiency initiatives include: cooling buildings with the largest ice thermal storage plant of all educational facilities in Florida; producing renewable energy through a 15-acre solar field; and designing and constructing three academic buildings and four residence halls that are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified. Students contribute to FGCU’s sustainable operations through hands on, experiential learning projects such as energy and waste audits as well as tree and biodiversity mapping. Facilities such as FGCU’s Emergent Technologies Institute are engaged in entrepreneurial research toward more sustainable business and lifestyle practices. Academically, the University Colloquium course empowers every undergraduate student to become a sustainability literate, environmentally conscious, civically engaged citizen.