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  • By Pacific Island Times Staff

GCC honored with AACC Green Genome Award

Being green has resulted in Guam Community College being awarded some “green” from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

GCC President Mary Okada received a letter last week from Jennifer Worth, AACC Sr. VP of Workforce & Economic Development, congratulating GCC as being one of only nine colleges across the nation to be selected as a 2016 Green Genome Award winner. AACC awarded GCC a 2016 AACC Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Green Genome Strategic Partnerships Award, which is accompanied by a $10,000 check.

"The designation of the SEED Genome Award to the Guam Community College signifies that we are truly advancing our sustainability efforts on campus and in the community. To be one of the few recipients of this national award speaks volumes about our commitment and transformation toward a sustainable future and workforce," said Francisco “Kiko” Palacios, GCC Sustainability Coordinator.

Palacios wrote GCC’s Green Genome Award application, highlighting the College’s emphasis on providing courses such as Photovoltaic Design and Installation, Intro to Renewable Energy, and its Environmental Technician Certificate program and upcoming Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist concentration that aim to prepare graduates for jobs in the region’s growing sustainability industry. Also highlighted were GCC’s plans to integrate proposed Guam Tropical Energy Code components into its Construction Trades program; sustainable initiatives instituted by other College programs; the installment of water bottle refilling stations and recycling “atolls” around campus; GCC’s Sustainable Technologies and Environmental Education Program (STEEP) offered during summer and winter breaks to introduce secondary level students to sustainable technologies and inspire them to study STEM fields related to sustainability efforts; and its efforts to lead by example with the construction of three, soon-to-be four Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) buildings on campus. The application also highlighted student sustainability efforts through the Ecowarriors student organization, as well as the support of sustainability initiatives by GCC management and its Board of Trustees.

“At GCC we are truly committed to having sustainability be a part of the College’s DNA – from our student and faculty levels, within our programs, to how we construct buildings and implement initiatives. For GCC, it is all about leading by example. We are thrilled with this award and the honor that accompanies it,” said President Okada.

Dr. Okada noted that the $10,000 award will help to expand the GCC STEEP program, to more effectively prepare students for further education and promising job opportunities in green technology fields.

The 2016 Green Genome Awards are part of a larger Green Genome initiative created by the AACC and its Sustainability Education and Economic Development Center (SEED). GCC is among more than 480 community colleges representing more than three million students that have joined AACC’s SEED Center, pledging leadership in sustainability education and training and reaping the benefits. All nine winning colleges are each receiving $10,000 from AACC.

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