Cedar Valley College

Cedar Valley College has set the goal of becoming a national educational center for training in sustainability initiatives and promoting awareness of global needs for sustainability and green living. Interdisciplinary courses were designated to offer “Green Job” training for students. The college established partnerships with local communities and works closely with them through sSustainability awareness events. Cedar Valley College is also an active member in multiple councils and organizations to obtain knowledge for the better development of sustainable plans.

Student Preparedness           

Cedar Valley College (CVC) of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) was one of the first community colleges in Texas to sign the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and be a member of the Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) initiative of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). CVC signed a commitment with the Clinton Global Initiative that the college has turned into actions. In 2013, CVC became part of the Center of Green Schools Program of the USGBC.

Cedar Valley College offers “Green Job” training courses and programs. A number of courses of all disciplines include sustainability principles in the syllabus and are labeled “green courses” in the college catalog. These courses are cross-disciplinary: real estate, marketing, government, human development, biology, energy management, philosophy, English, art, etc. In May 2014, CVC had its first “green cord” graduates and in 2015 it was 15% of CVC’s graduates. The unique process for certifying instructors in Quality Teaching in Practical Sustainability (QTIPS) was simplified – testing is now in electronic format available online- 38% of the faculty is certified.

The college’s “Living Lab Initiative” solves community problems with experiential opportunities for students through partnerships with the cities of Cedar Hill and Dallas. Since 2013, the college hosts a Sustainability Awareness event every month, offering professional development for employees and service learning hours for the Student Green Club that promote and host these events. More than 940 people participated during the 2013-2014 academic year, 48% of whom were community members.

Climate Innovation

In spring 2014, a science faculty member received a full scholarship to attend a climate science and global climate change course offered by the American Meteorological Society, in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She developed and delivered a Geology class emphasizing climate change in spring of 2015. Students created posters analyzing the impact of climate change in their lives and presented them to the community. She also participated as a panelist in the Second Nature/ACUPCC webinar: “Promoting Climate Science Education through the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project”. Cedar Valley College offered a new Meteorology course in spring 2015 to weekend students, and the first SkyWarn Weather Watchers training course at CVC was conducted by a new faculty, who is a National Weather Service senior forecaster in Fort Worth, TX.

In 2014 Cedar Valley College became part of the National Council for Science and the Environment. The Dean of Science, Math & Allied Health and the Sustainability Director attended the Energy & Climate Change Conference and participated in the Community College Affiliate Program. With the knowledge obtained and the alliances created at these meeting, a plan and strategy were developed to offer Environmental Science courses and develop a new Environmental Science programs leading to an AS degree and articulation to 4-year institutions and certificate programs. Cedar Valley College also has a weather station that is being activated in the summer of 2015. The Cedar Valley College Sustainable Communities Institute is helping the main cities of South Dallas County in becoming more resilient.

Creating Opportunity

Cedar Valley College is a member of the Center of Green Schools Program of the USGBC (2013). Twenty members (employees, faculty, students, and volunteers) of DCCCD colleges were prepared at CVC for LEED Green Associate and LEED Accredited Professional certifications. These participants are leading the journey to more energy efficient construction, maintenance, and operation of DCCCD buildings (7 colleges; 85,000 students), incorporating LEED principles into classes, and preparing LEED courses for the workforce.

In 2013, Cedar Valley College representatives participated in the Leadership Capacity-Building and Diversity Initiative of ACUPCC. The meeting was the first time Presidents and/or Vice Presidents of all seven DCCCD colleges met to discuss sustainability. This provided DCCCD leadership a collective view of measures/investments that aim to reduce GHG emissions.

In March 2015, Cedar Valley College was awarded funds by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to have the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) support CVC in the pursuit of renewable energy technologies. The scope of work is to evaluate the CVC site to identify feasible renewable energy (RE) technologies to reduce electrical/thermal energy consumption and evaluate their economic feasibility. Currently, the college is updating the Master Plan of the campus- the NREL study will influence the future actions/investments in RE. Cedar Valley College is part of the ACUPCC/GRITS Pilot project- the college expects that this tracking system can guide it in making data-driven decisions that will reduce GHG emissions and transform utility expenses into smart investments. Cedar Valley College received $9400 for upgrading lighting in the gymnasium/cafeteria/library from Oncor for being energy efficient.