Green in Higher Education

Sean O'Connell - Contributing Writer
Posted on Sunday 24th May 2009

Finding the right employer in this market is now taking the form of finding the employer who is most stable and will outlast our economic turmoil. Recent events have us looking for a stable employer over the greenest or most socially responsible one. Not too long ago that was a key factor for many job seekers. Tighter budgets have meant fewer efforts are being put into corporate “green” efforts, but higher education has kept the path alive. Being sustainable and being green ultimately means being focused and stable in the long term.

In the Philadelphia region many green groups have turned into councils and associations and finally into Sustainability Departments. It was a development that came of pressure from students and the public that local and nationally known colleges and universities have created and funded Sustainability Departments.

Temple, Drexel, Penn, Community College of Philadelphia, University of Philadelphia, all of these institutions in addition to offering “green” or “sustainability” courses have found it customer (student) and budget friendly to focus on sustainability and going green in their business practices.

A reason green projects get dropped during tight budget periods is that they require greater upfront investment and cash. Universities and colleges are focused on the long term and it is therefore they can take the extra initial steps for greater long term strength. We can learn from them as they continue the innovation and implementation of green projects.

In a four piece series you will be shown recent successful “green” practices that are in place at our local institutions of higher learning. The pieces will focus on these four main points found common among institutions: Energy Management, Waste and Recycling, Built Environment, and Transportation. Some have great cost savings to businesses and individuals. Practices that will be familiar to the incoming job market as they graduate from these institutions.

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