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Home­Colleges in Action ­ Success Stories ­ Delta College Plays an Integral Role in the Sustainable Health of the Region

Community Engagement

Delta College Plays an Integral Role in the Sustainable Health of the Region

Delta College (MI) plays an integral role in the social, environmental, and economic health of Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay (GLB) region. Delta’s commitment began in 2007 with the signing of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. That same year, the school was selected as an AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) pilot campus. In 2008, Delta convened a campuswide green summit, created a sustainability office, and began developing a comprehensive plan to reduce the carbon footprint of the campus and the community. “Beyond the campus, we want to show how Delta [College] can influence sustainability at a community level,” emphasizes Delta College President Jean Goodnow.

Delta has collaborated with community partners on numerous alternative transportation activities, including installation of an electric vehicle plug-in station that is accessible to the community and helping to create a nonmotorized greenway, the first link to connect two counties. The college’s effort in spearheading the greenway brought together 10 organizations including the state, counties, townships, foundations, and other regional colleges. In addition, the college joined with local transit authorities, a big-box store, and a neighboring university to establish a park-and-ride, hybrid-conversion bus route called the Green Line that was introduced with a yearlong bus ride subsidy in celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary. The park-and-ride provided the impetus to seek a viable regional transportation plan, and since then the college has been involved in several major initiatives, including the Saginaw Transit Authority Master Plan Advisory Committee, the GLB regional transportation initiative group, and the Bay Metropolitan Planning Summit.

“Beyond the campus, we want to show how Delta [College] can influence sustainability at a community level.”
- Jean Goodnow, president
Delta’s leadership in providing alternative energy training and engaging employers to create alternative energy solutions is recognized throughout the community. The college offers a range of training in automotive, wind, and chemical process technology and provides personal enrichment and professional development courses focused on sustainability. Delta has partnerships to provide training for businesses including Dow Chemical Company, which manufactures solar shingles; Dow Kokam, an advanced lithium polymer battery technology manufacturer; and Hemlock Semiconductor, a manufacturer and distributor of hyperpure polysilicon for solar cell applications.

In addition, more than 500 students have built sustainable Habitat for Humanity homes, and more than 400,000 student hours have been contributed to community service in the last year to promote sustainability.

*Picture: Students building a Habitat for Humanity house

This resource made possible with the generous support from the Kresge Foundation