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FGCU among top five green universities

Florida Gulf Coast University ranks top five among colleges and universities in the U.S for its sustainable initiatives according to a student blog website, and the university con- tinues to move forward with other green plans.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as one of top-five green institutions by College Prowl- er,” said Kathryn Leone, FGCU environmental stewardship and sustainability coordinator. “Because we are such a newly built institution, a lot of times, older schools make a big investment to retrofit other buildings, and they’ll cut their carbon footprint in half. We’re already starting at a point where we’re really running efficiently to begin with because we’re so young,”

The College Prowler (colleges.niche.com) reports are collected using various resources that the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the Na- tional Center for Education Statistics (NCES) uses, and reports from other partnerships show that FGCU plans to be carbon neutral, which Leone shares.

For example, FGCU is affiliated with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPPC). ACUPCC provides a framework and support for America’s colleges and universities to apply comprehensive plans to achieve climate neutrality. The ACUPCC developed the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), which is a self-reporting structure for colleges and universities to ensure and synthesize their sustainability implementation.

The 2013 Progress Report found in the ACUPCC website (rs.acupcc.org) shows the current advancement that FGCU has made since the last submission in 2012. The report identifies the six LEED-certified buildings among other achievements.

FGCU plans to move forward with other green initiatives.

For example, on the 2010 Action Plan, FGCU joined the Backe Group in October 2009 to develop a 1.2 million square-foot research and development area for studying renew- able energy, solar energy, alternative energy sources, biotechnology, green technology and other programs, according to the ACUPCC website. The area is referred to as the Innova- tion Hub or the I-HUB that is located a mile away from FGCU, according to the website (fgcuihub.com).

“I don’t know any of the fun stuff yet,” said Leone, who has been working as the envi- ronmental stewardship and sustainability coordinator for a week.

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