The club's formation is the latest effort to improve sustainability and environmental consciousness on campus, while saving the school and local businesses considerable money. “It’s impressive to see the college’s commitment to an environmentally-friendly campus come so far," said Steven Hyland, a Westchester Community College student and the club's founder.
Westchester Community College has long backed sustainability programs and initiatives, most notably in the construction of the college's Gateway Center in 2010. The Gateway Center is a gold-level LEED-certified building, which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The new construction was the County’s first building to receive the rating.
"Our club’s mission follows suit, continuing the efforts of our school’s administration and bringing the conversation of mitigating climate change to the student level," said Hyland. "I see great things in the future for both the Sustainability Club and for the college.”
The club has promoted itself through a variety of fun, yet informative, events on campus. Members recently hosted a Family Feud-style game highlighting sustainability issues, and are currently scheduling speakers for the fall semester. The group's work has also extended beyond the college's campus; most recently, students orchestrated a partnership with a local Westchester environmental business.
Through the program, which began last fall, the college installed an off-grid campus light powered exclusively by solar and wind. The “Remote Power Unit” (RPU) was donated to the campus by Mount Vernon-based Aris Wind LLC. Aris is a renewable energy firm which works with businesses to install a variety of wind and solar products.
“This new 'green connection' starting with the school’s earlier sustainability efforts, with continued support from the county, has helped attract the interest and collaboration of the student body and the business community," said Scott Zaluda, Sustainability Club advisor and WCC professor. "This has contributed towards the overall goal making Westchester a better place to live and work."
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