Sustainable School

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Congratulations to Rhode Island College for being selected as a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee. RNN is extremely happy for all the schools who were selected, and you can click here for the full list,  but we are especially excited for RIC as they have been a partner to RNN from the beginning and we’ve seen their efforts first hand.

Rhode Island College is one of 45 schools in the nation and one of only nine postsecondary schools to earn this prestigious designation.

“Rhode Island College has long been a hallmark of our state’s innovation and determination. This commendation for RIC’s tireless commitment to sustainability is well-deserved, and should serve as an inspiration to other institutions,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo.

The aim of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is to inspire schools, districts and Institutions of Higher Education to strive for 21st-century excellence, by highlighting promising practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the award recognizes schools that:

  • Reduce environmental impact and costs.
  • Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff.
  • Provide environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.

“Rhode Island College has a long-standing tradition of sustainability, particularly as it relates to our broader commitments to quality, value and innovation,” said Frank Sánchez, president of Rhode Island College. “This accomplishment is due to a focused, campus-wide effort to make the college a national model for sustainable practices and programs.”

Significant accomplishments include the establishment of the Rhode Island College Green Team in 2009 and the development of several cost-saving initiatives by campus offices and divisions through waste reduction, recycling, energy efficiency, green cleaning and sustainable grounds management.

RIC is serviced by a central heating plant that uses both light oil and natural gas and provides steam for heat, hot water and steam absorption chillers for air conditioning. Buildings on campus are continuously being improved to incorporate more efficiency in lighting, heating and cooling in their operation and design. The school has worked with AMERESCO (an energy services contractor) to implement fuel and electrical efficiencies across the campus.

Each year, RIC graduates don caps and gowns made from recycled plastic water bottles, which are then collected after graduation to be repurposed into carpeting. The college decreased the amount of waste disposed by 55 tons from 2015 to 2016, in large part by working with Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island, which has helped to divert tens of thousands of pounds of material destined for the landfill by collecting the school’s used clothing and e-waste.

RIC has also worked in association with National Grid to improve energy efficiencies. The National Grid partnership has provided resources, rebates and incentives to assist with achieving the college’s objectives.

“This Green Ribbon Award is a testament to the commitment that Rhode Island College has shown to sustainability, thanks to the strong leadership of President Sánchez. The whole system can benefit from their best practices,” said Acting Commissioner of Postsecondary Education Brenda Dann-Messier.

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