Take a Green-Themed Walking Tour of Your Campus!

Do you know how “green” your campus is?  Here’s a quick quiz to find out:

  • How many green roofs does your school have?  (2 points, plus 1 bonus point if you can name the buildings)
  • Do the toilets in your student center use grey water?  (1 point)
  • Does your dining hall compost food scraps?  (3 points)
  • Are there Certified Wildlife Habitats in your community?  (2 points)
  • What about solar hot water?  (1 point)
  • Solar hot pockets?  (350 calories)

Germanna CC Green Roof
A green roof at Germanna Community College in Virginia. Green roofs are just one of the many features highlighted by Sustainability Walking Tours. Flickr photo by Germanna CC.
If you’ve never looked into your school’s green features, or are seriously pondering that last quiz question, fear not!  Many schools across the country are making it easier for students and visitors alike to increase their green-geek factors by offering sustainability-themed walking tours.  Whether you claim that you’ve walked every path on campus or are mapping out your routes to class for the first time, you may want to consider doing some investigating to find the greenest trail.

Awareness of  renewable energy projects at the St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Mich. just increased. The project was sparked by an Innovation grant from the Greenforce Initiative, a partnership of Jobs for the Future and the National Wildlife Federation created to strengthen the capacity of community colleges to green the skills of our modern workforce. Five faculty and staff designed a sign to highlight the various renewable energy and green architecture features found around their 25-acre campus. The sign is the keystone in the grand arch of the college’s upcoming Sustainability Walking Tour, and will be a stop on all future campus tours. More than just a basic informational plaque, a scan-able “quick-response” (QR) code on the sign directs Smartphone users to a webpage where they can access up-to-the minute data on energy usage or the temperatures of the campus’s solar hot air and water systems. From this site, visitors can also find a map with additional information on fifteen green projects, a perfect activity for an afternoon study break! Just be sure not to look at your phone while walking.

Portland State University (PSU) in Portland, Oregon, offers an online guide to their Sustainability Walking Tour, which details fourteen sustainability measures the institution has taken across the board—large and small scale efforts to increase efficiency and decrease PSU’s overall impact on the environment. Unique features across the 50 acres include an electric vehicle charging station (pay for parking but the electricity is free!), electricity-producing exercise bicycles, and a student-run café with local, organic, vegan and vegetarian foods. The ReUse room is a twist on a community swap shop with school and office supplies, and it’s totally free!

Whether it’s your first fall on campus or your fourth, get out and explore in a new way! Download a map, put on your walking shoes, grab a friend and find the hidden and hidden-in-plain-sight places that make your school sustainable.

What’s your favorite campus sustainability feature?  Is it common knowledge, or a hidden gem?

Check out other on-campus environmental education and outreach projects here.