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College receives national sustainability award from AACC

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 11, 2016

In recognition of its efforts to integrate sustainable practices and processes, the College of Lake County has received a 2016 Green Genome Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.

CLC is one of nine community colleges nationwide to receive the $10,000 award, part of a larger Green Genome initiative created by the AACC and its Sustainability Education and Economic Development Center (SEED). More than 480 community colleges have joined AACC’s SEED Center, pledging leadership in sustainability education and training.

“We are honored to receive this national award which recognizes the work of our faculty and staff in making CLC a national leader in sustainability,” said CLC President Jerry Weber. “Our goal is to make CLC a living laboratory of sustainability that will inspire our students and Lake County.”

The award recognized the college’s strategy to unify all green and sustainable initiatives under a Sustainability Guiding Coalition that evaluates and encourages sustainability into the campus, curriculum and community. The coalition reviews the work of a faculty and staff environmental action committee, academic quality improvement and working relationships with community groups.

“The award shows that we’re really using a sophisticated framework as our guide in incorporating sustainability into our governance structure and into the overall college culture,” said David Husemoller, CLC sustainability manager. “The achievement recognizes the team effort, involving faculty, staff and students.”

Geothermal system pipingPhoto: From left, Bernard Kondenar, Dorothy McCarty and David Husemoller view the piping and heat pumps for the College of Lake County’s new geothermal heating and cooling system. The underground piping, which surrounds the Grayslake Campus, circulates 55 degree water used in heating and cooling the campus, cutting energy costs and reducing the college’s carbon footprint. Kondenar is a student trustee and sustainable agriculture major. McCarty is program manager for Cotter Consulting, a firm working on CLC master plan projects. Husemoller is CLC’s sustainability manager.

CLC’s sustainable accomplishments over the past five years include the following:

  • The college added sustainability to its strategic goals and in 2012 and adopted a Sustainable Master Plan under President Weber’s direction.
  • Geothermal system that came on line this fall is projected to reduce heating and cooling load at the main campus by 50 percent.
  • The new Café Willow features food grown on the Campus Learning Farm, which returns to the farm in the form of food scrap compost.
  • Rooftop solar thermal panels generate hot water and lighting across the campus is being retrofitted with LED fixtures.
  • Bioswales in parking lots use native plants to filter rain water flowing off the asphalt before entering Willow Lake on the Grayslake Campus.
  • In spring 2017, a new Science and Advanced Technology Building will open at the Grayslake Campus, designed to LEED Platinum standards and featuring solar photovoltaic panels, a separate geothermal field, daylighting and a living wall.
  • CLC also has greened its curriculum with sustainability-related classes, certificates and degrees.

The award will allow CLC to develop a sustainability trail, scheduled to open in spring 2018. Monies will pay for signage and a possible web-based application to explain the above areas, prairie and wetland restoration as well as a new apiary (bee colony) that opened in September 2016.

The Green Genome awards are based on a SEED document known as “The Community College Green Genome Framework: Integrating Sustainability and Clean Technology Workforce Development into the Institution’s DNA.” This free tool for colleges details the Green Genome framework, paths for success and offers profiles of previous winning colleges. For more information, visit AACC’s SEED Center and the Green Genome Awards are supported by The Kresge Foundation.

Learn more about CLC’s sustainable efforts at