Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Citrus College to Participate in Pilot Demonstration of New Sustainability Template
by Stacy Armstrong

Next month, Citrus College will begin guiding California's community colleges toward a more environmentally-friendly future by participating in a pilot demonstration of a new sustainability template.

The new template was the result of a partnership between Citrus College, the California Community College Chancellor's Office (CCCCO) and the California Energy Commission.  It was made possible by a $285,000 grant the college received from the Public Utilities Commission in early 2011.  The purpose of the grant was to create a roadmap that will allow the state's 112 community colleges to move toward sustainability, while also addressing the greenhouse mandates under the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).

"Citrus College was selected by the CCCCO to take part in the initial stages of this ground-breaking project," explained Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College.  "We were chosen because of the successful green initiatives we already have in place, as well as our excellent reputation for managing grant money."

Mrs. Joanne Montgomery, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, was delighted to learn about this unique opportunity.

"It is an incredible honor to be the California community college tasked with this important undertaking," she said.  "I am sure that every campus in the state recognizes the need for environmental sustainability.  It is my hope that this grant will enable Citrus College to pave the way to a greener future – not only for our campus and our colleagues, but for California as a whole."

The college used the money to hire Newcomb Anderson McCormick, an energy and engineering consulting firm, to oversee the creation of the template.  In addition, a campus committee composed of faculty, staff and students was created to aid in the template's development.  The project was officially launched in April 2011.

The consulting firm and campus committee worked diligently for nine months, striving to create a document flexible enough to be enacted at any community college in the state.  They ensured that the template encompasses a wide area of community college infrastructure, including energy, transportation, waste reduction and curriculum.  Throughout the process, an advisory council comprised of Chancellor's Office representatives, personnel from other community colleges and additional stakeholders provided input and recommendations.

The final draft of the template was approved in December 2011.  It includes three parts:  a sustainability planning guide book that includes an extensive menu of sustainability projects and resources, an implementation checklist and the sustainability action plan document template.

A month later, Dr. Perri and Carol Horton, vice president of finance and administrative services at Citrus College, travelled to Sacramento and presented the project to the California Community College Board of Governors.

"The presentation on January 10th was well-received," Perri said.  "The members of the Board of Governors were extremely complimentary of our college's forward thinking and leadership in the area of sustainability."

The next step in the process is the pilot demonstration, which Citrus College plans to begin at the end of February.

"We helped develop the template and now we are going to test it," Horton said.  "By using the new program to create our own action plan, we will be able to see how it works and determine how valuable it is."

The pilot demonstration will involve the creation of an action plan that assesses where the college currently is in terms of sustainability, what the college has done and what it wants to tackle next.  It will identify specific programs, projects, tools, responsibilities and timelines for the campus community.

Throughout the demonstration, the template will be updated and perfected as lessons are learned.  At the conclusion of the pilot demonstration, the final product will be made available to the rest of the California community college system.

"When the template is finalized, it will be hosted online on the Chancellor's Office website, the California Energy Commission website and the California Community Colleges and Investor-Owned Utility Energy Efficiency Partnership website," Horton said.  "As for Citrus College, as soon as we meet the goals of our first action plan we will begin identifying our next steps.  The idea of a template is there is no start or finish.  You never finish.  The process is ongoing."