Ending the year with many sustainability accomplishments, the College of Lake County has embraced green as more than a holiday color.
The year's green accomplishments include:
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• In November, the board of trustees approved a new sustainable campus master plan, which includes several green features for the new Grayslake campus science building. The features include a geothermal plant, solar heating, rain water harvesting and LED lights. Information on the sustainable master plan is available at www.clcillinois.edu/masterplan.
• In September, the college opened Prairie, a new student-managed restaurant on the Grayslake campus. Besides offering practical, hands-on experience for students in the hospitality and culinary management program, Prairie uses many locally grown vegetables in its food preparation. At the Grayslake campus garden, horticulture students plant, water and harvest the produce. Produce ranges from tomatoes and bell peppers to head lettuce, radishes and broccoli. Herbs include rosemary, thyme and tarragon. For more information on Prairie, visit www.clcillinois.edu/programs/hcm/index.asp?prairie.
• In August, a sustainable agriculture program was launched that includes a 62-credit associate degree and a 24-credit hour certificate, preparing students to operate sustainable farms. A sustainable farm is usually four to 20 acres in size and grows many types of fruits and vegetables. Instead of chemical fertilizers, the sustainable farmer tends to use crop rotation and composting techniques. Sustainable farmers also try to control pests using natural means rather than pesticides, according to Rory Klick, chair of the horticulture department. For details, visit www.clcillinois.edu/programs/hrt.
• Also in August, CLC students received approval for a new $60,000 green fund, financed through student fees. Included in the Student Government Association budget, the $60,000 is being spent over three years; $20,000 in each year, starting with the 2012-13 academic year. Individual students, clubs or committees can submit project proposals. A nine-member committee consisting of eight students and one faculty adviser will review the applications. The SGA will be responsible for final approval of projects.
•In April and May, the college participated in Ditch the Car Week from April 30 to May 4. A total of 136 faculty, staff and students took part either by taking the bus or train, riding a bike or carpooling. As a reward, the CLC Foundation and Libertyville Cyclery jointly donated a $350 all-terrain bike that was raffled. The winner, student Austin Coolidge, biked an average of 18 miles per day to and from classes, according to theater instructor Tom Mitchell who coordinated the week's activities.
• The college hosted its third annual CountyGreen conference on May 17 at the Grayslake campus. The event brought together 200 local business owners and educators, as well as nonprofit, municipal and county leaders. Two green economy issues -- competition for the Great Lakes water supply and the increasing demand for locally grown food -- were the main focus. Keynote speaker Peter Annin, author of "Great Lakes Water Wars," said that access to Great Lakes water, and preserving water quality, has long been a legal and political battleground.
• In February and March, measurements were conducted showing that CLC's weekly garbage output declined to an average of 14,375 pounds, or 7.2 tons, a 24 percent drop from 2010. The assessment was conducted as part of the nationwide Recyclemania competition. This is the lowest garbage output in the three years the college has participated in the competition, according to Ted Johnson, director of facilities.