Albuquerque, N.M. – (June X) Central New Mexico Community College – the largest and fastest-growing college in New Mexico – became the second institution of higher education in that state to publically submit a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Report. STARS, administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), is, as AASHE defines, “a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.”
Thanks to a partnership with EcoMotion, an initial STARS assessment was conducted in 2013. EcoMotion then served as a facilitator in gathering data and educating the community through a STARS workshop with over 30 stakeholders from across campus. One-on-one meetings added guidance and support throughout the five month process. CNM earned a rating of 43.02, well above the Bronze-rating threshold of 35. CNM is now well positioned to advance to STARS Silver in the coming year.
Luis Campos, Director of Facilities, has written that “sustainability has become one of the focal points of CNM to demonstrate to the Albuquerque community and the state of New Mexico to think out of the box and to see into the future of what New Mexico can become as we work are creative energies together.”
CNM is made up of four campus locations in Albuquerque, one location in Rio Rancho, and a Workforce Training Center. In addition to LEED-certified buildings and an impressive facilities track record, CNM earned significant STARS credit for Innovation. Academic affairs and the Facilities Department have been working together to develop a “Campus as a Living Lab” initiative which seeks to link facilities activities with student learning. To implement this initiative, CNM is working to house a teaching faculty member within facilities to further develop practices, processes, and funding sources to use the campus environment and provide students with hands on experience. Another progressive step has been a collaborative effort to assure that all energy rebate funding goes into a revolving fund to support future sustainable projects.
CNM’s vision for an integrated and engaged sustainability program helps the institution shift attitudes from the conventional to the more inspiring. The sustainability initiatives serve to promote creativity, what many believe is one of the most coveted social assets for the post-industrial campus. Sustainability has become a leading means for CNM to demonstrate its vision and commitment to the Albuquerque community and the state of New Mexico.