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Northwest Community College Commits to Earth's Health

On a mission to become a more environmentally friendly institution, Northwest Community College (NWCC) has appointed Green Teams at each of its campuses to implement earth-friendly initiatives throughout the College's operations. The Green Teams are headed by each campus principal and include volunteers from college constituency groups such as staff, students, administration, faculty and instructors. The groups meet regularly to discuss how NWCC can become a greener, healthier and more sustainable institutions, and have already begun to implement their ideas. "We are starting off with the basics, the little everyday things that everyone can do," said NWCC Maintenance Manager Clint Marshall, who oversees all the Green Teams. The committees have been advocating for staff and students to be more aware of the energy they use, the garbage they produce, and how often documents are unnecessarily printed and photocopied, especially when only printed on one side. Marshall has also ordered close to 100 recycling bins to distribute throughout the campuses as well as reusable eco-bags to sell at the College's bookstores. "The challenge for us is to educate people and make it as easy as possible for them to make appropriate choices," Marshall said. "I really believe everybody wants to be more environmentally friendly but not everybody knows how. It's all about awareness." The long-term vision is for NWCC to become a carbon neutral institution by reducing energy consumption and waste, increasing recycling, and eradicating all environmentally unfriendly products such as styrofoam from all campuses. The Green Teams also aim to make the College a more responsible purchaser buying products with little or no packaging from socially-conscious companies as often as possible. "At this point, the College's campuses are at different stages in terms of green initiatives they have in place and ones in development," said Terrace Campus Educational Advisor and Green Team member Irlanda Price. "All of the campuses are making changes though, and will continue to do so. That's what really matters." In Terrace, the cafeteria uses only environmentally friendly cleaning products, biodegradable oils, and the most earth-friendly options when it comes to disposables. It also has an area where patrons separate their recyclables from their waste. Prince Rupert Campus has made connections with environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and Communities in Bloom. "We are reviewing our current sustainability practices and encouraging people to work together to reduce, reuse and recycle," explains Prince Rupert Campus Principal Deb Stava. "To communicate how we can each make a difference, we are installing Environmental Boards where people can post sustainability tips, issues and best practices. We are also members of the City's Green Advisory Task Force which makes recommendations to Council about the development of an action plan for lowering greenhouse gas emissions within the City of Prince Rupert." "The world's growing population and shrinking resources are putting pressure on individuals and institutions to act more responsibly," said NWCC President Stephanie Forsyth. "We at Northwest Community College see reducing our carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same as a priority. Part of the role of a post-secondary institution is to be a community leader and teacher. We hope to take on that role wholeheartedly in our initiative to go green for the sake of all of our stakeholders and the planet."

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