Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.30
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date March 19, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
PAE-19: Community Sustainability Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
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Does the institution participate in community sustainability partnerships that meet the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with the local community:

1. Sustainable Blacksburg

In August 2006, the Town of Blacksburg held “Environmental Awareness Week” as a community celebration for:
• Obtaining E3 status in the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program.
• Receiving a U.S. EPA Resource Conservation Challenge program grant to reduce toxic chemical risks in the community.
• Receiving recognition from the U.S. EPA for being the first municipality in the nation to join their National Partnership for Environmental Priorities program. The community partnership established as a requirement of the U.S. EPA grant organized Environmental Awareness Week.

Environmental Awareness Week was so successful that this informal community partnership became an independent non-profit corporation in 2007, called Sustainable Blacksburg, with board member representation from the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, and the Blacksburg business and citizen communities. Sustainable Blacksburg also received the Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN) 2007 Green Innovation Award for “Best Sustainable Community Program.”

In 2007 the Town of Blacksburg and Sustainable Blacksburg expanded their collaborative effort to include Virginia Tech and formed a “Green Partnership.” In order to promote sustainability awareness and education, as well as to provide practical sustainability applications, the Green Partnership hosted Sustainability Week 2007 during the week of October 21. Many workshops, movies and events highlighting sustainability were held. Sustainability Week 2007 included prominent keynote speakers from sustainability-related fields, such as Robin Chase, Founder & CEO of GoLoco, Rebecca Flora, President of the Green Building Alliance and Chair Elect of the US Green Building Council, and L. Preston Bryant, Jr., Secretary of Natural Resources in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In his remarks Secretary Bryant, Jr., commented Sustainability Week 2007 can serve as a model program for our state and it subsequently won the 2008 Governor’s Environmental Excellence “Bronze” Award.

Because of its success, Sustainability Week has become an annual event in Blacksburg. Sustainability Week was been held annual since 2007 with many more prominent keynote speakers, activities, workshops, lectures and games incorporated into the calendar of events. The Green Partnership between Sustainable Blacksburg, the Town of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech has become a tradition.

For more information about Sustainability Week, please see:

For more information about Sustainable Blacksburg, please see: http://sustainableblacksburgva.org/

2. Community Housing Partners

Job seekers and employers looking to get ahead in emerging green industries can do so with CREATES, an acronym for Construction, Retrofitting, and Energy-Efficiency Assessment Training and Employment System. Administered by Community Housing Partners (CHP) Corporation, CREATES is a regional energy training partnership program formulated out of a $3.8 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to teach workers the skills required in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. With the benefit of federal funds, New River, Wytheville and Virginia Western community colleges are providing free energy-efficiency and renewable-energy related industry training in a 21-county region throughout Western Virginia. The grant enabled New River Center for Energy Research and Training (NRCERT) in Christiansburg to establish an energy efficiency assessment training program. The program partners also include Virginia Tech, the Virginia Workforce Network and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.

Virginia Tech and CHP have been working in direct partnership for the last year on convening regional industry stakeholders to provide input on the training programs and curriculum. The goal of this effort is to assess whether the training currently meets the regional employment needs and demands of industry as well as contribute to the development and continued improvement of academic and training programs. Virginia Tech has provided academic expertise and resources to the curriculum and overall economic development goals of the grant program, and will continue to engage industry on curriculum and economic development within the region past the grant term (ends January 2012).

For more information about Community Housing Partners, please see: http://www.communityhousingpartners.org/

3. The Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center

The Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center is a showcase for sustainability education and engagement with the local community. Located on 377 acres in the Catawba Valley, the Catawba Sustainability Center is a place to practice, demonstrate, learn, and teach about sustainability issues ranging from green building and construction to low-input agricultural production to onsite energy production to community-based business development.

The Catawba Sustainability Center works to advance collaboration with the community and the region by engaging with a broadly diverse group of partners and advisers. This ensures that the Center is able to address specific needs in the region, transfer lessons learned beyond university boundaries, and receive feedback from community partners to inform future research and demonstrations. For more information about the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center, please see: http://www.vtrc.vt.edu/catawba/

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

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