Lakeland recently became the first community college in Ohio to be honored with the prestigious Bellwether Award from the Community College Futures Assembly in Orlando, Florida, in the category of Planning, Governance and Finance.
The Bellwether Awards were established to recognize outstanding programs that are at the forefront of innovation throughout the United States and Canada.
For sixteen years the award has recognized programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in community colleges.
Lakeland’s program, “Going Green Doesn't Have to be Sexy,” resulted in the college achieving natural gas, electricity, and water volume reductions of 46 percent, 36 percent, and 18 percent, respectively, and a 40 percent reduction in direct and indirect creation of greenhouse gases. The practical and incremental approach set the standard statewide for energy conservation among colleges and universities.
Lakeland's energy journey began in 2006, when the college worked with Garforth International LLC to benchmark its energy performance against European best practices. The college developed a comprehensive energy master plan and sought the help of global experts in energy management, Siemens Building Technologies, to implement a comprehensive energy and resource efficiency improvement project.
“As a public institution we have a social responsibility to make the world better than when we arrived here,” said Morris Beverage Jr., president of Lakeland Community College. “We believe strongly that taking a proactive approach to energy conservation certainly helps us accomplish that goal.”
The Community College Futures Assembly issued a call for Bellwether Award nominations in the fall of 2009, and 10 finalists were selected in each of three categories: 1) Instructional Programs and Services (IPS), cosponsored by the National Council of Instructional Administrators; 2) Planning, Governance and Finance, cosponsored by the Council for Resource Development; and 3) Workforce Development (WD), cosponsored by the National Council for Continuing Education and Training. All 30 finalists presented at the Assembly and one winner was then selected from each category.
"Lakeland is committed to reducing our own impact on the environment. We also hope to be a role model for our campus community, as well as for our county, state, and nation. We're honored to receive this award for innovative, trendsetting programs that other colleges may find worthy of replicating," said Mike Mayher, vice president for administrative services and treasurer.
The Community College Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent national policy forum both for key opinion leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trend-setting institutions.
The Bellwether Award in the IPS category went to Jackson State Community College (Jackson, TN), and the Bellwether Award in the WD category went to Mid-South Community College (West Memphis, AR).
For more information about the Bellwether Awards or Futures Assembly, consult the Community College Futures Assembly Web site at http://www.coe.ufl.edu/futures. The 2011 Community College Futures Assembly will again be held in Orlando next January.