Gateway Technical College
Gateway offers programming in sustainable careers for today and tomorrow. Hands-on-training in programs for Gas Meter Technician, Sustainable Energy Systems, Fresh Water Resources, Urban Farming, Hybrid Automotive Technology and HVACR Technology reinforces the commitment the College has in educating students in sustainable living opportunities. Students are also immersed in environmental education through Gateway’s Center for Sustainable Living, a residential building and two outbuildings on 5 acres of land on the College’s Kenosha Campus. Sustainable practices are employed at the center and nearby grounds, including using sustainable building products, organic seeds and plants, solar systems and implementing energy efficiencies where practicable. The residential building provides an environment for students to learn about green building and décor. Interior Design students apply sustainable and green design by creating reimagined furnishings and finishes in a “green room” in the center. The grounds on all three area campuses include rain gardens, prairies, arboretums and urban farming gardens which offer a conducive learning environment for students to put into practice the concepts they learn in the classroom in regards to ecosystems, plant growth, and harvesting. Local industry and businesses serve a vital role in the programming and curriculum at the College. Local leadership, serving on program advisory boards, provide expertise in the sustainable career opportunities currently available and work in partnership with the College to provide the most up-to-date and cutting edge technologies in the green arena. Local farmers work with students via the Gateway Technical College’s Urban Farm and Market, which is Certified Naturally Grown.
Through youth outreach, Celebrate Earth Day events and community workshops, Gateway ensures it is leading the way in offering innovative and informative climate solutions programming community-wide. The College’s Center for Sustainable Living mission is to create a venue for “green” and sustainability-related training for students as well as provide a central point for the community and industry to gain valuable information on how to apply sustainability and environmental knowledge into their everyday lives and businesses. In keeping with this mission, workshops — open to the public free of charge — are offered with varying topics ranging from repurposing and recycling common household materials, making healthy and green cleaning alternatives at home and finding out which foods are freshest in season. The Center also enjoys year-round youth outreach activities involving K-12 schools and community-based non-profit agencies. Seasonal events offer youth the opportunity to explore the interconnectedness of our regional environment and weather patterns. The College will continue to expand partnerships around sustainability with business and community groups through training, service on board of directors and collaborating on programming with local and national organizations. One such national initiative is Gateway’s recent partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. This collaborative effort will guide the College towards developing Green Career Pathways as well as further enhance current programming. From a regional perspective, Gateway has joined the Racine Sustainable Business Network to support improvements in the community, the college and the environment.
The Sustainability Center practices the importance of renewable energy systems. It is through the knowledge gained from work on the Center that the College began its own renewable energy system implementations. As the College steadily upgrades building infrastructures, a more focused approach is taken to improve heating and cooling efficiency. This includes replacing aging boilers, chillers, air-handling units and ventilation systems. Additions and remodeling projects include up-to-date, energy-efficient systems with recent projects taking place in all three counties served by Gateway Technical College. These projects include installing a variety of wind and solar energy systems, including solar photovoltaic system, rooftop wind generators, and solar water heating systems. It is through these sustainable-practices which further establish Gateway’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and thereby contributing to the broader community. Gateway College Students, through partnership with the Center for Sustainable Living, also take part in mentoring our communities’ younger citizens to continue their pursuit for cleaner living by providing sage advice on recycling initiatives and ways to become involved in securing a green future. Campus ambassadors, members of the Student-led Sustainability Club and Green Scholars – a program which lets students learn about sustainability, get involved, and earn recognition when they graduate – will impart their knowledge to our young visitors. From using compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs to packing waste-free lunches, our students will serve as examples to the younger generations about the College’s commitment to sustainable living.