Category Archives: Environmental

Richland College Student Green Team Hosting Used Clothing Fundraiser March 19-April 8

Spring is a season of starting fresh, giving back and going green, and the Richland College Student Green Team (SGT) is doing just that and has partnered with the World Wear Project Green Fundraiser Program to host a Clothing Recycling Project fundraiser.

From Mar. 19-Apr. 8, a World Wear Project donation bin will be located in the first parking row of Parking Lot E on the Richland College campus. The SGT invites the community to stop by the bin and donate gently used clothing, shoes, purses, belts, wallets, hats, backpacks, toys, pots and pans and more during this fundraiser. Many of the donated items will be shipped globally to help businesses and disaster victims and will help reduce the amount of waste taking up space in local landfills. In addition, the SGT will earn 12 cents per pound to help fund their educational resources, project materials, supplies, field trips, team T-shirts and recognition awards.

“Last April, we conducted a test pilot of having the World Wear Project bin temporarily in Parking Lot E, and we collected 672 pounds of items, raising $80,” said Sonia Ford, Richland College sustainability project coordinator and a member of the Dallas County Community College District Sustainability Team. “This year we have selected a more visible location, extended the timeframe from two weeks to three and increased the Student Green Team member participation to bring awareness to the fundraiser and have increased our advertising efforts. We hope to collect more items to help the community recycle, divert more materials from landfills, help those in need and raise money for the SGT.”

The mission of the SGT is to promote sustainability awareness and encourage environmentally conscious behavior through raising awareness about ecological issues and engaging in environmental, recycling and conservation energy activities to build a more sustainable local and world community for a greener tomorrow.

The World Wear Project is a nonprofit organization that makes clothing and shoes affordable and available to people domestically and internationally; helps schools, places of worship, community centers, charities and other nonprofits generate needed funds; and promotes global responsibility. More information is available at worldwearproject.com.

Richland College has tracked energy consumption since 1975, and it currently provides and tracks the recycling of 38 different materials while maintaining and monitoring an onsite waste-management program. Last year alone, Richland College recycled 485 tons of materials. In 2017, Richland College became the first and only educational institution to be awarded the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business certification for its efforts in preventing waste, incorporating recycling and promoting reuse, reduce and compost in its operations. In 2010 and 2011, Richland College was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Award for University and College Partner of the Year. Richland College also won the national Recyclemania Grand Championship in 2016 and the Texas Grand Championship each year from 2010 to 2017. For more information about Richland College’s green initiatives, visit richlandcollege.edu/greenrichland.

Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd.


Richland College Awarded City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business Certification

Richland College is passionate about going green, and the college has once again been recognized for its efforts. In late 2017, Richland College was awarded the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business certification. Richland College is the first and only educational institution in the city to earn this recognition.

This certification distinguishes businesses and institutions that prevent waste, incorporate recycling and promote reuse, reduce and compost in its operations. There are three certification levels offered, and Richland College was awarded the gold level–the highest level. Richland College received this recognition for providing and tracking the recycling of 38 different materials while maintaining and monitoring an onsite waste-management program. Last year alone, Richland College recycled 485 tons.

“To be awarded the Gold Level Green Business certification through the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management offers Richland College several advantages,” said Sonia Ford, sustainability project coordinator and a member of the Dallas County Community College District Sustainability Team. “These include recycling assistance, a green business certification decal or certificate to display on our campus, permission to display this logo on our website and in other media, a listing on the city’s commercial recycling website and dallasrecycles.com and recognition at the city’s Green Business Leaders event. In addition, City of Dallas Zero Waste Management has officially posted Richland College’s certification video and content on all of its social media.”

Any business in Dallas that incorporates green practices and conserves resources can apply to become Green Business certified at either a bronze, silver or gold level. Businesses that receive this certification will save money, assist in protecting the environment and have their business recognized for its efforts in a variety of ways. The City of Dallas Zero Waste Management plan was passed in 2013, with a goal of having zero waste by 2040. For more information about The City of Dallas Zero Waste plan and Richland College’s certification, visit http://dallascityhall.com/departments/sanitation/Pages/greenbusiness.aspx.

Richland College has tracked energy consumption since 1975, and it records and assesses key performance indicators for energy and water usage and recycling. In 2010 and 2011, Richland College was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Award for University and College Partner of the Year. Richland College also won the national Recyclemania Grand Championship in 2016 and the Texas Grand Championship each year from 2010 to 2017. For more information about Richland College’s green initiatives, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/greenrichland.


Richland College Designated as a Tree Campus USA

Richland College has recently been designated as a Tree Campus USA College by the Arbor Day Foundation. This designation recognizes college and university campuses that effectively maintain campus trees, connect with the community to foster healthy urban forests and strive to engage their students in service learning forestry projects.

There are many benefits to being a Tree Campus USA College. A commitment to trees can greatly reduce the amount of energy the campus needs to generate; planting and maintaining trees on campus reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and green spaces give students and faculty a place to relax with others. The Tree College USA program helps colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests.

“We in facilities services are extremely excited that Richland College has been presented the designation of Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Ken Dunson, facilities director at Richland College. “With Richland College’s history of participation in Arbor Day events, the practice of honoring 20-year employees by designating existing trees on campus with their name plaques beneath them, the annual practice of planting new trees and the time and care our landscaping services professionals spend with all trees on campus, it was only natural we apply for this great honor. We are pleased to be chosen and will devote the resources and energy necessary to maintain this distinguished designation.”

Richland College had to meet five qualifications to be recognized as a national Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA College. These standards are: establishing a campus tree advisory committee, giving evidence of a campus tree care plan, verifying dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree plan, hosting an Arbor Day event and implementing a service learning project that is designed to engage students.

Texas has the most Tree Campus USA schools in the nation. Other Dallas Community College District colleges have made this distinguished list in previous years, including Brookhaven College, Eastfield College, North Lake College and Mountain View College.

Tree Campus USA is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and administered locally by the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS). The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. It has one million members, donors and partners who support its programs to make the world greener and healthier.

Since 1915, TFS has been protecting and sustaining forests, trees and other natural resources. The organization also offers programs and services to help others make the most of their land for future generations.

For more information about the Arbor Day Foundation, visit arborday.org. For more information about the Texas A&M Forest Service, visit tfsweb.tamu.edu.


Richland College Wins Grand Championship in National ‘RecycleMania’ Competition

Recycling bins located on campusRichland College showed its green side with a campus-wide recycling rate of more than 82 percent during the spring semester, earning the grand champion prize in RecycleMania, an annual competition for college and university recycling programs.

Each spring since 2001, colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected for a period of eight weeks and are ranked in various categories based on which institution recycles the most on a per capita basis, which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

The 2016 tournament ran from Feb. 2 through April 7, with 350 schools participating from 48 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Canada. During the competition time, participating schools recycled or composted 79.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials. This prevented the release of 122,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere, or the equivalent of the annual emissions from 24,000 cars.

Historically, Richland College has placed in the top 10 in the overall competition since 2012 and has been the Texas Grand Champion in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

“After consistently being the best in Texas, it’s so great to be able to win the national award this year for RecycleMania,” said Jerry Owens, Richland College assistant director of facilities services. “The program closely aligns with Richland College’s vision to ‘build sustainable local and world community.’ A lot of effort has gone into recycle awareness and sustainability on our campus, and we are thrilled that it really paid off.”

RecycleMania hopes to motivate students, faculty, staff and the community to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation. It also hopes to increase awareness and support for college recycling programs and encourage colleges and universities to measure, benchmark and expand recycling efforts to help improve their programs over time.

For more information on the competition, visit www.recyclemaniacs.org.


Richland College Facilities Services Department Gives Campus Trees a New ‘Leaf’ on Life by Getting to the Root of the Problem
A large, fallen tree limb is surveyed by workers.

Richland College facilities employees work to secure a damaged tree and safely remove the downed branches.

After an unprecedented stormy, soggy spring in the Dallas area, the Richland College campus was left relatively unscathed, with the exception of several trees that lost limbs in the recent storms. Luckily for the trees, the college’s Facilities Services department was ready to go out on a limb and make sure no stump went unturned in the quest to save the storm’s woody victims.

This year’s storms resulted in several damaged trees, but thankfully only one will have to be taken down.

Once a storm passes, the Facilities Services department assesses the situation and notifies necessary individuals, such as the College Police and senior administration. From there, priority is placed on each damage area, with top priority given to more dangerous situations such as hanging or fallen branches blocking a sidewalk or roadway or leaning against a building. A crew and equipment are deployed not only to remove the debris, but to also try to repair the tree. If the damage isn’t bad, the wounds are painted, cable-bolts are used if necessary and any splits are closed. Exposed wood is treated to protect against disease and insect infestation. Branches are cut up and repurposed as compost to mulch landscaped beds on campus.

With more than 1,000 trees on the Richland College campus, many older than 100 years, the trees do more than provide a tranquil backdrop for the educational environment of students. They provide energy conservation by producing shade, reducing the college’s carbon footprint and serving as a habitat for the myriad of creatures that live on campus. In addition, many trees on campus serve as tributes to Richland College employees, past and present, who have provided 20 years of service to the college.

When a Richland College employee attains 20 years of service, he or she picks an available tree on campus, and at the base of the tree a plaque is placed to honor that person. While no trees with plaques were heavily damaged this year, if it ever happens then either the person who that tree commemorates or his or her relatives are allowed to pick a new tree on campus.

“We would all like to be remembered,” said Dennis Griffin, Richland College’s grounds coordinator. “Being able to see that memory in the form of a living thing can be pretty powerful for the acquaintances, friends and especially the relatives who come on a regular basis to check the health of the tree and the status of the plaque.”


Richland College is Best in Texas in ‘RecycleMania’ Competition

Paper being recycledRichland College showed its green over the spring semester when it took home prizes for first in the state and fifth in the U.S. and Canada in RecycleMania, an annual competition for college and university recycling programs.

Each spring, colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected for a period of eight weeks and are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling. Richland College was fifth overall in the competition and first in the state of Texas.

“RecycleMania is a great competition, and the program closely aligns with Richland College’s vision to ‘build sustainable local and world community,’” said Lisa Eades, Richland College associate director of facilities support services. “It is really a great benchmarking tool to see how our recycling efforts stack up against other colleges and universities each year.”

Historically, Richland College has placed in the top ten in the overall competition since 2012 and has been the Texas Grand Champion in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

RecycleMania hopes to motivate students, faculty and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation. It also hopes to increase awareness and support for college recycling programs and encourage colleges and universitites to measure, benchmark and expand recycling efforts to help improve their programs over time.

For more information on the event, visit www.recyclemaniacs.org.


Richland College Hosting Spring City of Dallas ‘Recycling Round-Up’ Event

Vector retro labels with ecology signsSpring cleaning is in full swing, and Richland College and the City of Dallas Sanitation Services are encouraging community members to start going through unwanted items and participate in the spring “Recycling Round-up” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 18.

Residents can drop off recyclable items, big or small, including but not limited to electronic items, small appliances, used cooking oil, toys, light bulbs, batteries, textiles, medical equipment and tires. People may also drop off as many as five legal boxes of documents for destruction, though boxes must be no larger than 15 inches by 20 inches, and binders will not be accepted. Other items not accepted include household hazardous chemicals or paint, building supplies, pharmaceuticals, furniture or mattresses.

In addition to recyclable items, Dallas Animal Services will be taking material donations to help shelter animals. Items accepted include new or gently used clean towels or blankets, tennis balls, toys for dogs and cats, dry and canned pet food and new or gently used leashes and collars.

“Richland College is so happy once again to be hosting this event with the City of Dallas,” said Lisa Eades, Richland College associate director of facilities support services. “We’re especially excited that we will be able to help the animals of Dallas Animal Services in addition to helping the community recycle their items.”

The spring “Recycling Round-up” will take place on the Richland College campus, 12800 Abrams Road, in parking lot E located on the west side of campus off Abrams Road and Walnut Street. The event will occur rain or shine, and the first 50 cars in line to drop off recyclables will receive a pair of tickets to the Studio Movie Grill.

For more information on the event, contact the City of Dallas Waste Diversion Hotline at 214-670-4475.


Richland College Hosting ‘Fall Recycling Round-Up’ Event

green recycling stampSpring cleaning may be a few months away, but Richland College and the City of Dallas Sanitation Services are encouraging community members to start that cleaning a little early and participate in the “Fall Recycling Round-up” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15.

Residents can drop off recyclable items, big or small, including but not limited to electronic items, small appliances, used cooking oil, toys, light bulbs, batteries, textiles, medical equipment and tires. People may also drop off up to five legal boxes of documents for destruction, though boxes must be no larger than 15 inches by 20 inches, and binders will not be accepted. Other items not accepted include household hazardous chemicals or paint, building supplies, pharmaceuticals, furniture or mattresses.

“Richland College is looking forward once again to partnering with the City of Dallas Sanitation Services,” said Lisa Eades, Richland College assistant director of facilities support services. “This is an all-day, fun event that allows the community to safely and conveniently recycle items they no longer need.”

The “Fall Recycling Round-up” will take place on the Richland College campus, 12800 Abrams Road, in parking lot E located on the west side of campus off Abrams Road and Walnut Street. The event will occur rain or shine, and the first 50 cars in line to drop off recyclables will receive a pair of tickets to the Studio Movie Grill.

For more information on the event, contact the City of Dallas Waste Diversion Hotline at 214-670-4475.


Speaker to explore water harvesting, cisterns

It’s still a desert out there in North Texas. Lake levels are shockingly low. Water restrictions have become even more stringent. That’s what a drought is all about.

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Nate Downey

Caught in the grip of a four-year drought which blankets the entire north Texas region and beyond, the current water crisis is rated “severe” to “exceptional.”  Without enough water, Texas and its residents face a bleak future agriculturally, economically and ecologically. Even with a few recent soaking rains, area residents, businesses and cities are facing the fact that water is a scarce and precious resource.

How can individuals fight a drought when they face extreme temperatures, water restrictions, empty lakes and brown grass everywhere they look?  The idea of using active water harvesting and cisterns is a philosophy that author and permaculture expert Nate Downey of New Mexico will share with audience members during two programs he will present in June – the final feature presentation in the Dallas County Community College District’s 2013-2014 Clean Economy Series. Downey kicked off the series last September when Texas was struggling with a drought; unfortunately, he returns to the same situation nine months later.

Active water harvesting involves a number of principles that Downey will explore as he explains a system based on storage tanks that enable users to conserve water. A longtime permaculture/landscape designer, Downey studied under Bill Mollison and is the award-winning author of two books, including Harvest the Rain: How to Enrich Your Life by Seeing Every Storm as a Resource.

Downey’s first presentation on Friday, June 27, is titled “Water Is the New Solar.” The program will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room SH118 of Sabine Hall at Richland College, located at 12800 Abrams Rd. in Dallas; the cost to attend is $10 per person. Downey will discuss the fact that the water-harvesting industry soon will join solar energy as an economic engine that will drive the country toward real sustainability. The number of individuals and companies that provide harvested roof water and rain water will serve a large, growing market.  Managing and regulating this new industry will provide additional challenges as well.

The following day (Saturday, June 28), Downey will present a one-day workshop about “The Bold New American Landscape, Part 2: Active Water Harvesting with Cisterns,” which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., also in Room SH118 of Sabine Hall. During the all-day program, he will focus on harvesting rain water in storage tanks. Downey, who has been designing and installing cistern systems for two decades, will talk about the components of a successful system that can turn storm water into an actual resource. The cost of the workshop is $99; participants can register in advance at www.dcccd.edu/cleaneconomyseries.

This all-day program will feature a hands-on, live demonstration which will help Richland College harvest rain water. Rain Harvesting Supplies, one of the event’s sponsors, will donate a cistern. Richland College is providing the additional parts needed so that the class can help install a working cistern on campus. Additional sponsors include Ann’s Health Food Center and Market, Dallas Water Utilities, Earth Day Texas, Garden Inspirations, Greenling, Green Source DFW, Growing Food Closer to Home, Natural Awakenings, NYLO Hotel, Urban Acres, Arete Consulting and Eat Your Yard.

For more than a decade, Downey has spoken, taught and written about permaculture practices. He owns Santa Fe PermaDesign, a landscape-design firm whose projects emphasize beauty, function and ecology. He is a frequent guest on public radio and writes a popular column called “Permaculture in Practice” for The Santa Fe New Mexican.

At home and in the workplace (regionally, nationally and internationally), Downey’s work addresses what he calls ‘”changescapes,” “permapatterns” and “permaDesign” — methods that provide practical and visionary ways to be productive and add value to people’s lives, homes, communities and the environment.

Downey said that enough rain falls to provide ample water for everyone. As a result, “We simply have to collect, store, distribute and reuse a small percentage of that which falls from the sky. Fortunately, this way of saving the world comes with perks such as increasing your property’s value, lowering your utility bills or simply creating a comfortable oasis for conversation just outside the kitchen door,” he added.

The seven colleges in DCCCD are sponsoring the 2014 Clean Economy Series, which concludes with Downey’s presentation on cisterns and water conservation. Volume ticket discounts are available for the full-day workshop but must be paid in advance.

The Clean Economy Series offers hands-on workshops that provide attendees with practical knowledge about how to live and conduct business in a more sustainable way that supports people, the plant and profits. Conducted by nationally-known leaders in their areas of expertise, the workshops have touched, educated, inspired and moved participants to take action. The series began in Santa Fe and is produced by the New Mexico non-profit organization Carbon Economy Series.

For more information, visit www.dcccd.edu/CleanEconomySeries.


Richland College 1st in Texas, 3rd nationally in 2014 RecycleMania competition

RM_logo_2014Richland College was named the 2014 RecycleMania Grand Champion of Texas and ranked third nationally out of 461 participating colleges and universities.

RecycleMania’s mission of inspiring environmental and social consciousness fits perfectly with Richland College’s vision to build sustainable local and world community. Richland has participated in RecycleMania since 2009, taking the Texas Grand Champion title in 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

RecycleMania’s Grand Champion category is based on a weekly recycling rate. Richland’s recycling rate for the competition was 75.1 percent. Antioch University Seattle was the 2014 RecycleMania National Grand Champion with a weekly recycling rate of 93.13 percent. University of Missouri-Kansas City finished second with 81.05 percent.

During 2014 RecycleMania, participating institutions collectively recycled or composted 89.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 126,597 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere – equal to the annual emissions from 24,823 cars.

According to RecycleMania, Richland College’s activities during this year’s competition prevented the release of 335 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or the same reduction in greenhouse gases as removing 66 passenger cars from the road.

RecycleMania started in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The competition has expanded from two schools in 2001 to 461 colleges and universities in 2014 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Complete results for all 11 competition categories can be found on recyclemania.org, including a breakdown showing how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state and other groupings.