Triton College recognized statewide and nationally as leader in sustainability programs

Gov. Pat Quinn commends Triton College for its "commitment to sustainability"

Triton College is making strides in providing its students with educational courses with a sustainability focus that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Recently, Triton was honored for its efforts with a national certification and a nod by Gov. Pat Quinn.

In May, Triton was certified as a Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU) institution by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and out of 71 identified institutions, is one of only two certified HSACUs in Illinois. The certification recognizes Triton as a qualifying Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) that offers accredited degree programs in agriculture-related fields.

“We are proud to receive this certification,” said Triton College President Patricia Granados. “This affiliation makes the college eligible for new grant programs to develop more innovative degrees and certificates in agriculture for this growing industry, allowing us to further our work in support of student success.”

Triton was also named a Bronze level recipient of the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact by Gov. Pat Quinn and the Green Governments Coordinating Council for being one of only several community colleges in the state to incorporate sustainability into campus operations, academic and research programs, student activities and community outreach.

“Triton College’s commitment to sustainability is a model for Illinois, and those green practices will help save money and conserve resources,” Gov. Quinn said. “Triton students will also benefit from classes that prepare them to enter the green industries that are going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the next century.”

In recent years, Triton has implemented new programs and curriculum to encourage sustainability education to address the changing job market. The college currently offers a certificate in Sustainable Landscape Practices that teaches students about common landscape and agriculture practices that have an adverse effect on the environment. The certificate program is a precursor to Triton’s associate’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture Technology, expected to be open to enrollment in 2013. The degree, which was developed thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (DUE-1104051) through the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, would be the first of its kind available at any community college in the Midwest.

Students can currently pursue an A.A.S. in horticulture at Triton, as well as certificates in floral design, grounds maintenance and landscape design. Green-related courses have also been developed in its biology and Hospitality Industry Administration departments. Students may register immediately for the summer term or for fall 2012 by calling the Admissions Office at (708) 456-0300, ext. 3130 or visiting www.triton.edu.

The college has even extended its reach into its surrounding communities by providing programming and materials on sustainable practices through its Sustainability Center (www.triton.edu/sustainability). The Sustainability Center, run by Adrian Fisher of Oak Park, is a virtual resource center meant to serve as a hub of knowledge and support for the coordination of sustainability initiatives.

Triton has also incorporated sustainable practices into its campus operations, including a campus-wide recycling program, the installation of LED lighting in the parking lots, hosting recycling events on campus, installing energy-efficient lighting and recycled flooring materials in the library and planting an experimental prairie garden.