Since becoming a student at FGCU, I have noticed that I am surrounded by a naturally beautiful campus. With around 400 acres of preserved wetlands, a 15-acre solar field and the spacious, newly remodeled Library Lawn, there is nothing that says “eco-friendly” more than our university.
In 2001, the National Wildlife Federation recognized FGCU as a national leading school in developing an environmentally sustainable campus. Almost a decade and a half later, we have not only been awarded the 2014 STARS 2.0 Gold award (with a score of 54 out of 58) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, but we were also ranked No. 13 by Best Value Schools on their list of the most beautiful coastal college campuses.
What does this mean for students who choose to go green and blue? You can expect purified water bottle spigots on every fountain, inside buildings and out. The FGCU Food Forest, created by Student Government in 2011, is open for those who are looking to walk on the greener path and provides students with a way to learn about different types of edible plants locally grown in Southwest Florida.
Without a doubt, bicycles have overtaken the campus. To promote this eco-transportation, a whopping $7,573.61 was used by SG in 2013 to purchase bike repair stations all across the university. In addition to the pumps, there is also a bike and equipment rental program, Pedal Power Bike Share, which is completely free to FGCU students.
Environmental initiatives at FGCU go beyond just keeping our campus clean. From being named a Tree Campus by USA institution in 2010 to being ranked No. 1 public university in Florida by Recycle Mania (a competition that promotes waste reduction on campus communities), FGCU continues to be one of the most eco-friendly and energy efficient campuses. This is thanks to the Physical Plant, which provides the resources to make it happen.
It is almost unthinkable that such a beautiful and eco-friendly campus could accumulate a bad reputation, right? According to the top Urban Dictionary definition of FGCU, our school is thought of as “a university which declares itself ‘environmentally friendly’ but has probably obliterated more wildlife and forest than any other school.”
From looking at the Main Entry Enhancements project that we are undergoing for approximately $1.5 million, it may seem as if the aforementioned anonymous poster may be correct. However, Tom Mayo, the director of facilities planning, says the construction of the new entrance“does not impact any natural preserves.” It also meets the university’s mission of sustainability, which includes “preservation of habitat while recognizing the limitations imposed on the University.”
With that being said, we have a good thing going for our environmental campus. Our “eco winning streak” isn’t going to end any time soon.