There is a lot of sustainability talk in the higher education community, but who is delivering on the promise? Prospective students (and prospective donors) are bombarded with marketing pitches that tout sustainability in food and waste recycling, energy-saving buildings, and more, but the standard sustainability message lacks depth. One college found a way to stand out while standing up by participating in the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Pilot Program.
Long Island, NY-based Nassau Community College and the Friends of Hempstead Plains decided to go the extra sustainable mile when designing an interpretive center focused on its unique natural preserve, a historic landmark. Dedicated educators, faculty, biologists, researchers, local artists and nature lovers were all involved in making the Hempstead Plains Interpretive Center (HPIC) project a reality, but they needed a way to showcase the project to attract funding and visitors. The team recognized that using SITES as a model would set the Friends of Hempstead Plains and Nassau Community College apart from the many other higher education institutions with similar academic and interpretive programs.
The SITES certification helps Nassau Community College prove that its sustainability initiatives are truly innovative and unique while delivering both visual impact and campus amenities that attract and welcome students and visitors. And, to deliver another layer of value, the effort can be translated into educational programming that will engage students to reconnect with nature in a meaningful way to benefit them, their families and their communities.
You can read about the innovative measures that were designed into the interpretive center building and site preservation efforts in the 2-Star SITES Pilot Project description here.
Is your higher education institution looking for new and effective ways to promote your sustainability program and attract dedicated students? Reach out – we would be happy to share ideas on how sustainable sites methodologies and SITES certification can provide meaningful benefits.