Montgomery County Community College

Since signing the ACUPCC in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College.

Student Preparedness

In 2011, the College introduced a new general education core curriculum that shapes students’ experiences through 13 learning competencies, one of which is civic responsibility. This requires students to analyze society’s environmental impact on the non-human world and future generations to better ensure sustainability.

To meet this competency(1), several faculty developed sustainability-focused courses in the disciplines of Economics, Geology and Geography, which complement our rigorous Environmental Science program. Faculty also incorporate sustainability-themed projects into their existing courses, including Public Relations, Ceramics, and Composition, among others.

Students benefit from community partners – including Wissahickon Growing Greener, Schuylkill River Heritage Area, and Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) – that help to guide sustainability efforts(2)  as members of MCCC’s President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council(3) . Our student-led Environmental Club also forged a partnership with Pennypack Farm and Education Center, where students volunteer monthly while learning about community supported agriculture(4).

Climate Innovation

This year, the College launched a four-tier Green Office Initiative(5) that encourages departments to adopt sustainable practices and purchase greener supplies in partnership with Office Depot. The initial six participating offices report an average 12% decrease in spending.

Through a partnership with Sustainable Waste Solutions, MCCC’s new Culinary Arts Institute is a landfill-free facility(6). 100% of the Institute’s trash, cooking grease and food trimmings is recycled or converted into organic agricultural compost or biofuel.

As a commuter institution, transportation emissions are a large part of MCCC’s carbon footprint. To compliment the 20-passenger transportation shuttle(7) – introduced in 2010 to make the 30-mile trip between campuses several times daily – the College now partners with Zimride, which facilitates a safe ridesharing program for students, faculty and staff(8). Combined, the two initiatives reduced vehicle use by almost one million miles and carbon emissions by an estimated 54,644 metric tons(9).

To support these programs, the College opened a Green Lot(10) allowing drivers of electric, hybrid and high-efficiency vehicles, carpoolers, and shuttle riders to access prime parking on our Central Campus. Electric vehicle charging stations are also available at both Central and West(11) campuses. MCCC earned Platinum-Level Sustainability Award from GVF for three consecutive years(12) for our transportation efforts.

Creating Opportunity

The College has partnered with Siemens Inc. to implement a self-funded energy conservation project(13) that will result in $6,000,000+ (19%) in energy savings over 15 years. The project incorporates renewable energy sources from wind turbines(14) and solar panels(15) on our campuses, as well as other energy/cost-saving initiatives, such as transitioning to natural gas, retrofitting lighting, and upgrading HVAC and building automation systems, among others.

To educate and influence our communities, we document all of the College’s work – and share other valuable sustainability information – on our CASE award-winning(16) Think Green blog(17), which is linked to several community newspapers and websites. We also invite the community to participate in MCCC’s annual Earth Week activities(18) and in forums with notable speakers like director Josh Fox(19) and activist Emily Hunter(20).