August 8, 2023

WCU One of Four Universities Honored Today as a 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

(L-R) Nancy Santos Gainer, Andy Lehman, Brad Flamm, Aliza Richman, Loredana Valtierra, U.S. Department of Education policy advisor; Cindy Marten, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education; and Brian Campbell, Bureau Director, Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Today, West Chester University was among the four universities honored at the 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools ceremony at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.  

WCU was recognized for our innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective sustainability and environmental education. Representatives received sustainably crafted plaques and banners in recognition for their achievements. The University was nominated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 18 states.

“Making a difference on our planet takes all of us,” said West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino. “Environmental, economic and social sustainability are core principles that West Chester University’s community of educators applies to its teaching, research, support services, and operations. Our University is proud to be recognized on a national level for the commitments it has made to energy efficiency, zero waste practices, as well as to preparing students and staff to advocate for sustainability in all corners of the globe. As we look toward the future, the University is intentional in its plans to work toward carbon neutrality. We especially applaud the dedicated work of Dr. Bradley Flamm, director of the Office of Sustainability, with his team and the work of Sustainability Council Chair Dr. Aliza Richman with members of the Council. Congratulations to all of the 2023 honorees.” 

In addition to Flamm and Richman, representing West Chester University at the award ceremony were Andrew Lehman, chief of staff and executive deputy to the President and vice president for University Affairs; and Nancy Santos Gainer, senior associate vice president for University Communications and Marketing.

Andrea Suarez Falken, special advisor for infrastructure and sustainability, U.S. Department of Education

On hand for the event at the U.S. Department of Education were White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten. Henry McKoy, director of the Office of State and Community Energy Programs for the U.S. Department of Energy and Janet McCabe, deputy administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also congratulated the honorees for their efforts. The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council offered a reception on Capitol Hill following the event. In addition, numerous agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Energy, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offered events throughout the week to connect honoree representatives with more resources and honor their achievements in whole school sustainability.

At the event, 26 schools, 11 districts, and four postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education. Attendees participated in sessions facilitated by national leaders in school sustainability and had the opportunity to share their own school/district/IHE’s practices.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.

Visit WCU’s Office of Sustainability to learn more about the University’s sustainability practices.


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