College News Releases

U.S. Secretary of Education names Western Technical College a 2015 "Green Ribbon School"

April 22, 2015 | U.S. Department of Education

Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to announce that Western Technical College, in La Crosse, Wis. is among the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.

The first higher education institution in Wisconsin to receive the recognition, Western was nominated by the President of the University of Wisconsin System. The college has taken a comprehensive approach to sustainability by incorporating sustainable practices into course curriculum, adopting energy efficient facilities and practices, and promoting health and wellness to staff and students.

“What a great honor to receive this acknowledgement,” said Western President Lee Rasch. “It is truly the result of a college-wide effort that includes individual energy saving habits like turning off lights and recycling, to unique efforts, such as the Hydro Power Station in Angelo, the Passive House Instructional Facility in La Crosse, and the LEED certified buildings in Sparta, Black River Falls, and La Crosse.”

In total, across the country, Western is one of only nine colleges and universities honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, 58 K-12 schools and 14 districts were honored for their efforts. Duncan and Goldfuss made the announcement at the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington, DC.

“These honorees are compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments,” Duncan said. “U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and deserve the spotlight for embodying strong examples of innovative learning and civic engagement. We also are thrilled to add institutions of higher education to the list of honorees this year for the first time in the award’s history.”

The schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 30 state education agencies, with honorees selected from 28 jurisdictions. The list of 81 total selectees includes 52 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 35 elementary, 19 middle and 17 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 28 of the nominating authorities. Forty-seven percent of the 2015 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body, 22 percent are rural, and one-third of the postsecondary institutions are community colleges. The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here.

More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.