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CSU-Pueblo earns $10,000 prize from HACU for sustainability

Release Date: October 20, 2015

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo

719.549.2810

Press Release

PUEBLO – At the 29th annual conference of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities in Miami this week, Colorado State University-Pueblo was recognized as winner of the HACU/Solution Generation Leadership in Climate Change Awareness Award. The University was one of 17 colleges and universities that submitted applications illustrating how they would use the $10,000 award money to further sustainability efforts on campus and in the community. Others submitting proposals included the University of Texas at Arlington, Washington and Lee University, and four of the California State University System institutions (Fresno, Northridge, Fullerton, and Chico).

According to HACU officials, CSU-Pueblo stood out for its emphasis on cultivating student leadership to engage in outreach to the fellow students and to the surrounding community. CSU-Pueblo plans to fund student “sustainability ambassador” positions to drive awareness for such green campaigns as the “Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle” campaign. Student sustainability ambassadors will reach out to and educate other students and faculty in classrooms and at campus events regarding important sustainability focused efforts occurring on campus.

CSU-Pueblo also plans to fund undergraduate climate and sustainability research. Specifically, students will research climate solutions tailored for the Pueblo community with a focus on local issues such as increasing energy efficiency for low-income housing, indoor environmental air quality for Pueblo residents, and studying implementation of hybrid technologies to replace fossil fuel consumption. These outreach plans are significant because climate change solutions tend to overlook the underserved populations (nearly 20 percent of Pueblo residents live below the poverty line). 

Local focus on sustainability is one of the most effective ways to communicate about this issue and to drive real solutions, according to Provost Dr. Rick Kreminski. Through research on local issues and local solutions, CSU-Pueblo undergraduates will not only increase sustainability in their community, but also take important steps in educating their community about the importance of sustainability.

In addition to these proposed sustainability measures, CSU-Pueblo has shown consistent dedication to and leadership on sustainability issues. According to Campus Sustainability Educational Specialist Sarah Spencer-Workman, the university offers an interdisciplinary sustainability minor open to all majors, as well as more than 25 courses that integrate climate change and sustainability into curriculum coursework. In 2014, CSU-Pueblo was one of four universities in the country to offer a LEED Lab that enables students not only to earn credits toward their degree, but offers an avenue for them to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional accreditation upon successful completion of the course. More than half the students who have successfully passed the LEED Lab course at CSU-Pueblo have become professionally accredited. Some have been hired directly out of this course into the workforce. 

Today, CSU-Pueblo is joined by other universities nationally and globally in offering a LEED Lab as part of their sustainability courses on campus. These efforts have been possible in part through the support and resources of PROPEL, a U.S. Department of Education grant funded program that provides academic support and mentorship for students across CSU-Pueblo’s STEM disciplines.  

CSU-Pueblo also offers events and activities throughout the year to engage the campus and community on sustainability issues; from community clean-ups to educational activities that show students how they can reduce their own carbon footprints. The university has 11 campus-wide policies to direct action towards climate change solutions, ranging from a “green cleaning policy” that dictates all cleaning products used are environmentally friendly, to priority parking for low emissions and hybrid vehicles.​

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Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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