Waubonsee Enhances Beauty With Sustainability
April is always a remarkable month at Waubonsee. Though spring officially starts in March, April is usually when it starts to feel like spring in our area. With the blooming of flowers comes the annual reemergence of the beauty of our campuses. At Waubonsee, natural beauty and sustainability are college-wide efforts.
Our Sugar Grove Campus has been awarded the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA® designation for the eighth consecutive year. The campus is also recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. These designations are important to us and we know that our care and attention to the environment are important to our students and neighbors as well. Many students tell us that the beauty of the Sugar Grove Campus is one of their favorite features of the college.
Our interest in beauty and the environment is not limited to our Sugar Grove Campus. Waubonsee’s Aurora Downtown Campus, completed in 2011, features an upper and a lower riverwalk, permeable pavers, rain gardens and bioswales to filter water before it trickles into the Fox River and a white roof to decrease cooling costs. Our Plano Campus was recently recognized in Architect Magazine as being “strategically placed to take advantage of access and views of Lake Plano…” and during the college’s Earth Week celebration at the end of April, we will have a ceremony to plant a tree on our Aurora Downtown Campus. We work hard to ensure all of our students have the opportunity to learn in beautiful, healthy environments.
Our campus cafés also do their part to be good stewards of our environment. By purchasing seasonal produce from local growers as often as possible and reducing organic and inorganic waste on all campuses, Sodexo is committed to its Better Tomorrow Plan that involves 18 commitments for a brighter future.
Not only do we work to create a beautiful environment and implement sustainable practices on our campuses, but we teach them, as well. We offer courses in sustainability as part of our STEM programs and students can earn an Automotive Recycling Certificate of Achievement that develops skills in the best practices of automobile disassembly and parts disposal.
OUR HISTORY AND PLANS
As published in our Transformational Plan: FY2017-FY2019, sustainability is one of our five guiding principles as we plan the future of the college. We view sustainability as “the integration of sustainable practices, methods and materials in the academic, financial and physical operations of the college.” We know the importance of the role that community colleges have in creating better environments for our communities. In 2015 I wrote:
“…as educational leaders deeply ingrained in our local culture, community colleges have the resources, mission and reach to help steward the environmental future of our regions. Our students, partners and community members count on us to prepare them for a brighter future. An environmentally sustainable way of living and doing business is critical to achieving that goal.”
In 2016, Dan Larsen, our Director of Campus Operations, expanded on this by saying, “By showcasing Waubonsee’s sustainability efforts we are also raising awareness of the things individuals can do to promote environmental stewardship in their communities.”
This year, we will celebrate Earth Week at Waubonsee from April 22 to April 28. There will be many events and activities throughout the week to see and experience the beauty of our campuses. Also, we will hold a college open house on April 21 to highlight many of our academic programs to our communities. I invite you to visit our college calendar to learn more about these events and then come see and experience all that Waubonsee is doing to shape a better future for all of us.
Christine J. Sobek, Ed.D.
President, Waubonsee Community College
Past Communications from Dr. Sobek
Dr. Sobek regularly writes columns about things going on at Waubonsee and on topics in higher education. These columns are frequently published in newspapers in the communities across the district that Waubonsee serves. You can read all of the past columns here.
Each month, Waubonsee administrators, faculty members and staff write a column that highlights, people, programs and events from across the college. Read those columns here.