Category Archives: Sustainable Campus

Pellissippi State introduces Sustainable Design concentration

At Pellissippi State Community College, “sustainability” is more than just a buzzword. It’s an educational pursuit.

This fall, students can enroll in the Engineering Technology degree program with a concentration in Sustainable Design. The curriculum is offered at the college’s Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses.

“Sustainable design practices seek to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings,” said Greg Armour, who teaches in Engineering and Media Technologies. “We can enhance living and working spaces while still reducing the consumption of nonrenewable resources.

“Students will learn a holistic approach to design that considers life-cycle costs such as building efficiency and energy. The idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions today don’t inhibit the opportunities of future generations.”

Sustainable Design is open to all Pellissippi State students interested in pursuing Engineering Technology. It is also part of the curriculum at the new Knox County Schools Career Magnet Academy, which opened this month at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus. Sustainable Design is one of eight pathways from which the high school students can choose.

The concentration is useful for students interested in the construction industry and in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification exam, as well as for students interested in fields as wide-ranging as business, consulting, and science. The curriculum includes topics such as passive solar design, construction techniques, site selection and design, building information modeling software, and LEED sustainability concepts.

“The Sustainable Design concentration offers a great foundation of the most essential ideas for those who wish to be an agent of change,” said Armour, who is an architect and LEED accredited professional.

Students who complete the Sustainable Design coursework at Pellissippi State earn a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree. The 60-hour concentration includes classroom and open-lab time.

For more information about Engineering Technology or other degree programs at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State celebrates Earth Week with film, displays, native-plant speaker

Pellissippi State Community College has a jam-packed schedule of events for Earth Week at all five of its locations, beginning Monday, April 21.

“We’ve had such a great response to Earth Day events in past years,” said Karen Lively, sustainable campus coordinator, “that we’re very excited to expand our one day of activity at the Hardin Valley Campus to an entire week, with events on all five of our campuses. This gives all of our students, faculty and staff the ability to participate.”

“Fuel Up for Earth Day” kicks off the week at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and features an automobile exhibit of alternative fuel vehicles. Also that day, Pellissippi State faculty and staff are challenged to “green their offices,” and the sustainability staff at the Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses promote Meatless Monday food options.

The film “Water Blues Green Solutions” screens 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The film will be shown at site campuses throughout the week.

Tuesday’s events include a tap-water tasting; a performance by Pellissippi State’s bluegrass band, the Hardin Valley Thunder; a T-shirt giveaway; and a green exhibit featuring local community and student clubs and organizations that focus on environmental issues.

Wednesday, the Hardin Valley Campus hosts a student recycling competition 11 a.m.-1 p.m. An exhibit in the Courtyard features a household hazardous waste display, solar panel demonstration, organic versus conventional food taste test, and other games and activities.

Pellissippi State members of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society will have a booth for water quality testing Thursday on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Friday, April 25, wraps up the college’s Earth Week events with a celebration of National Arbor Day and a tree planting ceremony. Wyn Miller, an expert on the use of Southern Appalachian native plants, leads a presentation entitled “The Role of Native Trees in Supporting Southern Appalachia’s Unique Biodiversity” 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.pstcc.edu/sustainability or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

National aquarist addresses ocean pollutants at Pellissippi State lecture

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Beyond its size—by some estimates twice that of the continental U.S.—there’s nothing “great” about this swirling flotsam of plastics, chemical sludge and other debris.

Katie Williams, an aquarist at the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C., addresses the ocean-borne garbage dump and related pollutants by invitation of the Sustainable Campus Initiative at Pellissippi State Community College in September. The topic is plastics and their role in the health and future of oceans and other major waterways.

Williams’ lecture, “Plastics and Waste Reduction: An Oceans and Wildlife Perspective,” is 10:45-11:45 a.m., Friday, Sept. 27, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The event is free and the public is invited.

“Education is important to build awareness of what it will take to ensure the continuation of these species in our oceans that are threatened by pollution,” said Karen Lively, the college’s sustainable campus coordinator. “Even in landlocked areas, we affect that pollution.”

“The same waste reduction efforts used globally can be related to protecting the wildlife in and around local watersheds like the Tennessee River,” said Judy Sichler, an anthropology instructor at Pellissippi State.

During her lecture, Williams will show the visual reminders of plastic pollution in our oceans and major waterways, including images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, beach destruction and the effects of microplastic.

Williams graduated with a degree in marine biology from the University of Tennessee and has worked for Sea World, the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the National Aquarium in Washington.

The lecture is tied in to the Sustainable Campus Initiative’s theme for September, plastics and waste reduction. Pellissippi State also will host a viewing of “Tapped,” a documentary film examining the bottled water industry. The event takes place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Goins Building Auditorium.

The community is invited to enjoy the free film and popcorn.

For additional information about the Sustainable Campus Initiative’s September events, call Lively at (865) 539-7364 or visit www.pstcc.edu/sustainability. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State recognized as ‘Green Achiever’ for sustainability work

GoGreenET.com Green Achiever award logoPellissippi State Community College was recognized as a Knoxville leader in sustainability initiatives at a GoGreenET event May 14.

Attended by L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, and Karen Lively, the college’s new sustainable campus coordinator, the event included recognition of the school as a “Green Achiever,” a program dedicated to recognizing East Tennessee businesses for sustainability initiatives.

“Pellissippi State is proud to join the ranks of other East Tennessee Green Achievers,” said Wise, “and we look forward to continuing to be a leader in environmentally responsible initiatives and programs that reduce our carbon footprint and benefit our students, faculty, and staff.”

“It was wonderful to see how many businesses and organizations in the area are adopting greener practices,” Lively said.

To be recognized as a Green Achiever, Pellissippi State completed a survey outlining more than 100 ways an organization could encourage green business practices. Green Achievers must have accomplished at least one item in each category and have scored at least 30 points.

“It’s very exciting that Pellissippi State met most of the criteria in the recycling, energy and water conservation, and waste reduction categories,” said Lively. “We’ve already implemented some effective sustainability measures and will be incorporating even more in the future, such as providing reusable bags and water bottles to students at New Student Orientation and constructing a solar pavilion.”

Pellissippi State has launched a number of green programs through its Sustainable Campus Initiative in recent years. The college employs recycling, water refilling stations, purchase of “green block” renewable energy, automatic light switches and faucets, hybrid vehicles for staff and faculty use, electric charging stations for alternative fuel vehicles, and replacement of traditional lighting with low-energy LED in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

Pellissippi State students even voted to enact a sustainable campus fee of $10 per student for each semester. The funds go toward initiatives to make the college a healthier, more environmentally friendly space.

One recent initiative embraced by students and the full-service Cafeteria on the Hardin Valley Campus is Meatless Monday, an international movement aimed at reducing meat consumption by encouraging everyone to avoid meat one day of the week.

GoGreenET.com is an online resource hosted by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal. The site provides information to guide East Tennessee businesses and organizations toward improved environmental responsibility and energy efficiency.

For additional information on the college’s sustainability efforts, call at (865) 694-6400.

Community invited to free Green Bag Lunch Series at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College is placing an environmental spin on the traditional brown bag lunch by offering a series of free lunchtime events featuring discussions led by Pellissippi State faculty members and guest presenters.

The Green Bag Lunch Series kicks off Wednesday, March 20, and continues on selected Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 24. All sessions are free, and the community is invited to take part. Attendees are invited to bring a bagged lunch. Cookies and beverages will be provided.

Presented by Pellissippi State’s Sustainable Campus Initiative Committee, the Green Bag Lunch Series consists of six luncheons focused on the discussion of a wide range of environmental topics. Scheduled this spring:

March 20, noon-12:45, Lighting the Fire of Conservation Ethics, presented by Pellissippi State English faculty member Heather Schroeder (Faculty-Staff Dining Room, Goins Building, Hardin Valley Campus).

March 28, 12:30-1:15 p.m., Envisioning Green Policy, presented by Kayla Stover and Anthony Stachowiak of the Green Policy Collective. Stover and Stachowiak are sociology faculty members at the University of Tennessee.

April 3, noon-12:45, Making Your Life Green—Starting at Home, presented by Margaret Ann Jeffries, Engineering and Media Technologies department head at the college.

April 11, 12:30-1:15 p.m., Tennessee: A Pioneer in Sustainable Agriculture, presented by Pellissippi State Natural and Behavioral Sciences faculty member Chris Milne.

April 18, 12:30-1:15 p.m., Business Practices and Sustainability, presented by Pellissippi State faculty representing business, accounting and economics.

April 24, noon-12:45, The Mathematics of Sustainability: A Math Awareness Month Green Bag Presentation, presented by Pellissippi State Math faculty member Michael Finley.

Except as noted, all sessions of the Green Bag Lunch Series take place in the Cafeteria Annex of the Goins Building on the Hardin Valley Campus. The series is free, and registration is not required.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu. Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.