“Sustainability,” as a movement and as a practical application, fits right into the sweet spot of the community college mission. We, who rarely have enough money to do all that needs to be done, find it easy to “save” things to reuse or to recycle. Signs of sustainability can be found all over community college campuses: recycling cans, composting bins, charging stations, solar panels. We would make these commitments even if there were no Earth Day or Earth Week; it’s in our DNA. We are proud to reinforce the mission of Earth Week to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” We stand tall with 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive environmental change for our students, our community and, most importantly, our earth.

We began this initiative at CCBC as long ago as 2008 when I committed the college to sustainable campuses by signing the President’s Climate Commitment. Sixteen years later, our score card is laudable. CCBC has reduced waste by 36%; diverted 2.35 million plastic bottles from landfills; and built large bee houses to provide better pollination habitats; and filled our parking lots with solar panels from which we gain a sizable amount of our energy. Sustainability is not just a fad at CCBC; it is a commitment to a legacy.

Sustainability is not just a sideline of our sector; it is everybody’s business. At its core, environmental stewardship is the habit of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. By our nature, community colleges are scrimpers and savers. Sustainability comes naturally to us. We are proud of our stewardship of our little corner of the earth, each to each, and it is a celebration we enjoy year-round.