By Gabriela Boscio, Sustainability Capacity Building Intern at Second Nature 

All through Earth Month, finalists of the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards vied for the most votes on the video they produced. Each of these 2-3 minute videos highlights the innovative sustainability efforts on their campuses. Voting was held through Planet Forward’s website and ran from April 1 to April 30, 2013. Read the press release for more details.

After a total of 48,882 votes cast during the month-long period of public voting, the winner of this year’s 2013 Climate Leadership Awards Video Competition is Missouri University of Science and Technology. This Doctorate Granting Institution garnered 16,374 votes, making it the top vote earner overall and in its Carnegie classification.

Missouri S&T’s entry features the university’s Solar Village, a neighborhood of student-built solar houses that acts as a living lab and home for students and faculty. The video also highlights their geothermal energy project, which will reduce the campus’s carbon dioxide emissions by 25,000 tons per year and cut energy usage in half.

Overall, this year’s video entries showcase many outstanding sustainability efforts being implemented across the country. Some highlights of pioneering initiatives from winners in other Carnegie Classifications include:

With 8,978 votes, Glendale Community College, is the winning entry for the category of “Associate, Community and Tribal Colleges” and the second most voted-for video of the competition. Its video features the legend of the “Green Gaucho”, who takes us through the college’s waste minimization efforts and beyond. Glendale Community College has reduced campus waste by 18 percent, infused sustainability into 100 classes, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent per square foot with over 30 energy-saving initiatives.

In the Baccalaureate category, Carleton College raked in 687 votes for its entry. Its video features the campus’s renewable energy initiatives (including two wind turbines and a photovoltaic array), its electric vehicle charging station (the first in the county), its local food initiative, and its comprehensive waste reduction program. 

American Public University System, a 100% online institution, led the Master’s Granting Institutions with a total of 1,655 votes. Its entry features the Academic Center, which was built on a reclaimed brownfield site and the new, energy efficient Finance Center, which is powered in part by a large solar array and includes public electric car charging stations.

Heading up the Special Focus Institution Category was Massachusetts Maritime Academy, with a total of 3,369 votes. In its video, the academy highlighted its sustainability-infused curriculum, 650-kilowatt wind turbine (which produces about 20% of the campus’s energy), 81-kilowatt photovoltaic array, and two LEED certified buildings, among other sustainability initiatives across campus.

All 19 of the participating institutions shared inspirational videos featuring exciting, creative, and forward-thinking sustainability initiatives. The work being done at these institutions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on our planet is invaluable to society, and a model for organizations in all fields. These colleges and universities, along with the entire ACUPCC network, embody the climate leadership needed in higher education and remind us of what is possible. Second Nature thanks all participants for their hard work and continued dedication to building a sustainable world.

More About the Climate Leadership Awards:

Second Nature selected 20 colleges and universities as finalists for the 2013 Climate Leadership Awards. These institutions were chosen because they exemplify the mission of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to re-stabilize the earth’s climate through education, research, and community engagement. Members of Second Nature’s Board of Directors unaffiliated with signatory institutions will select the winners of these awards in May.