Monday, November 19, 2012

Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources to present on invasive beetles

Asian longhorned beetle
Samantha Brady Stelmack, forest pest outreach and survey coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, will present a talk on the invasive Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer on Monday, Nov. 26 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Mount Wachusett Community College.

The free lecture, sponsored by The Green Society student sustainability club, will take place in the North Café and is open to the public.

Stelmack will provide an overview of the devastating effects of these pests, ways to identify infestation and precautions that can be made. Since the Asian longhorned beetle was detected in Massachusetts in 2008, local, state and federal entities have been working together to fight the infestation that has had devastating effects in Worcester and surrounding communities and has placed the entire Northeastern U.S. on high alert.

The emerald ash borer has destroyed millions of ash trees since it appeared in the U.S. a decade ago and was detected in the Berkshires in August 2012.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MWCC Showcased in Summer Publications

Word of MWCC’s sustainability story continues to spread. The college’s wind turbine project and energy initiatives are being showcased in three national venues this summer.

The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment included MWCC in its report, "Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership." The article, submitted by MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, recaps the turn-around the college has made over the past decade in renewable energy and energy conservation.
Business Officer, the monthly magazine published by The National Association of College and University Business Officers, included MWCC in its June feature article, "Bending the Carbon Curve." For more than a decade, higher education institutions have been steadily adding to the collective body of sustainability knowledge, Karla Hignite writes in the article. Commitments to climate neutrality are reversing the trajectory of campus greenhouse gas emissions, while the greater challenge remains of leveraging this success for other sectors.

“Since the start of the Great Recession, concerns about energy security and stability have once again wakened the notion about “Made in America” energy. Colleges like MWCC are not only showing that energy independence is possible, but are modeling what clean and renewable energy security looks like.”
College Planning & Management magazine also featured MWCC in its June issue, in the article "Working with the Wind," about colleges and universities that have incorporated wind energy on to their campuses.

The returns for MWCC on its two turbines “have been outstanding,” notes writer Dr. Anthony Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. “The project also fits into the college’s historic commitment to support alternative energy and sustainability through conservation, education and institutional support. In the past decade, this commitment has seen Mount Wachusett cut its electrical energy consumption by almost in half to approximately 5,000,000 kWh annually.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MWCC Receives Gold CASE Circle of Excellence Award for Turbine Communications

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs
Secretary Richard K. Sullivan addressing the audience
during the 2011 wind turbine dedication ceremony.  
MWCC has received the gold Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in the Public Relations and Community Relations category for the multi-faceted "Catch the Wind at MWCC" communications project.

The communications effort highlighted the activation and dedication of MWCC's two 1.65 MW wind turbines, as well as the college's decade-long commitment to renewable energy and energy conservation; sustainability awards received from state and national agencies for the wind project; and leadership role in the national campus climate commitment movement.

Further, the effort showcased MWCC's integral role in the Massachusetts "Leading by Example - Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings" program.

The story of MWCC's wind energy initiative became an integrated, cross-college concept, sparking excitement and interest throughout the campus and involving the Marketing & Communications Division, the President's Office, Institutional Advancement, Facilities Management, Media Services, Student Life, faculty, students and student clubs. The project combined in-house communications efforts in the areas of public relations, social media, website, and photography with service-learning projects for students majoring in Computer Graphic Design and Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

Aspects of the project included ongoing media relations; graphic design projects for signage, banners, turbine pride t-shirts sold to raise funds for student scholarships, and a car wrap; social media projects including posts to Facebook, YouTube and the college's Green on Green Street blog; video projects and photography. The project also created opportunities for others. For example, key state agencies, Congressman John Olver, and environmental organizations such as the U.S Department of Energy, posted news and videos on their own websites, blogs and Facebook pages.

"This gold recognition is a great tribute to everyone at the college for stepping up to the challenge of incorporating new ways to communicate and bring greater visibility to our college," said President Daniel M. Asquino. "The wind project was a complex one, with many other sustainability efforts being implemented at the same time. Our communications team did an outstanding job of building a campaign that tied all these efforts together, and bringing not only local, but national recognition to Mount Wachusett Community College."

Robin Duncan, MWCC vice president of Marketing & Communications commented, "I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people, and I am especially proud of this recognition as it truly showcases the diverse and cutting-edge talents among team members. This project was a collaborative college-wide effort and the communications strategy was a successful one. That's what we do, here in our office - spread the good word about Mount Wachusett Community College! But it's nice to be acknowledged by our colleagues for doing our jobs well, across all kinds of media - traditional and new."

Advancement professionals from a number of higher education institutions, including Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers, Seton Hall University and Tulane University, served as judges in a wide range of categories for the 2012 CASE awards, which focused on work completed in 2011. MWCC joined silver award winner Duke University and bronze award winner Thomas More College as the top winners in the PR/Community Relations category.

CASE is an international professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education. The Circle of Excellence awards celebrate programs that measure up to high standards, contribute to a growing body of knowledge and add substance and insight to the profession and its practitioners

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spring Conferences Showcase Sustainability Partnerships

Ed Terceiro sharing sustainability tips with conference attendees.
The story of MWCC’s transformation from energy laggard to energy leader was shared with hundreds of sustainability experts, and representatives from government, business, education and nonprofit organizations from two countries, nine states, 94 Massachusetts communities and 45 campuses that are contributing to local and global sustainability.

The two-day conference this spring, hosted by UMass Boston, included the second annual Massachusetts Sustainable Communities Conference and the first Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses Conference. Ed Terceiro, executive vice president emeritus at MWCC and resident engineer during the construction of the college’s two turbines, was a featured speaker during the campus conference. For more on this event, click here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day Celebration!

While every day is considered Earth Day at environmentally-conscientious MWCC, students, faculty and staff took part in college’s annual Earth Day Celebration this week, in anticipation of the national recognition on April 22.

Coordinated by the office of Student Life, Campus Activities Team for Students (CATS) and The Green Society student sustainability club, the event featured live music, free do-it-yourself grow kits, free “going green” grocery bags, as well as the Green Society’s light bulb, water bottle and plant sale. Area organizations presenting information included MassRIDES, Millers Watershed Council, United Water, the Audubon Society, and Solar PV. The college’s Prius hybrid and Art Professor Thomas Matsuda’s converted grease car were also on display.

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, the day the modern environmental movement was born. For more information about ways to celebrate Earth Day and help protect our planet, visit: Earth Day Network

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MWCC Hailed for Climate Support in ACUPCC's Celebrating Sustainability Series

Mount Wachusett Community College was recognized today by the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as one of 15 top colleges and universities in the country for its cutting-edge work in promoting environmental sustainability.
The ACUPCC, now in its fifth year, is an initiative joined by nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action. MWCC's achievements in renewable energy and energy conservation were cited as part of the ACUPCC’s Celebrating Sustainability series, which identifies signatories that exemplify the initiative’s mission to re-stabilize the earth's climate through education, research and community engagement. Celebrating Sustainability is formally recognizing a different institution every business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22. MWCC is a charter signatory of the ACUPCC.

The ACUPCC praised the college for its outstanding work in successfully integrating wind power into its energy portfolio over the past year. Mount Wachusett’s program has been so successful since installing two 1.65 MW turbines in March 2011 that the college is now producing 100 percent of its own electricity while also returning energy back to the grid, the organization noted.

The 15 colleges and universities identified under the Celebrating Sustainability series cover a diverse spectrum of institutions in terms of size, geographic location and academic focus. MWCC is the only college in New England named in the series. The other campuses are: University of California - Irvine; Arizona State University; University of Louisville, Kentucky; University of Central Missouri; Weber State University in Utah; William Patterson University in New Jersey; SUNY Upstate Medical University and Pratt Institute in New York; Allegheny College and Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania; Austin Community College in Texas; Georgia Institute of Technology and Haywood Community College in Georgia; and Luther College in Iowa.

“These institutions differ in many ways, but they all have an unrelenting commitment to building a healthier environment by deploying cutting-edge practices and producing graduates that will integrate sustainability into their professional and personal lives for years to come,” said Dr. Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. “These schools are also demonstrating academic leadership in this area, which is essential to address the profound threats climate change poses to society at large.”The ACUPCC launched its Celebrating Sustainability series in conjunction with Earth Day to demonstrate the importance of taking a holistic approach to reversing climate change that incorporates sustainable practices and solutions.

The organization commended the colleges wind energy initiative, which is now producing 100-percent of the Gardner campus' electricity while also returning energy back to the grid, as well as its biomass and solar technologies, conservation measures that have reduced energy consumption by nearly half, and efforts of the student sustainability club, The Green Society, and other campus organizations and clubs for their role in a number of campus green initiatives.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Turbines at 1 Year Anniversary Producing 100% of MWCC's Electricity

In the year since Mount Wachusett Community College added wind energy to its renewable portfolio, the two 1.65 MW turbines are producing 100 percent of the college’s electricity while also returning energy back to the grid.

The Vestas V82 turbines, activated on March 25, 2011, generated in excess of 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity two days before the anniversary date, slightly exceeding the 4.97 million kWh annual production anticipated prior to construction and taking into account the first month of intermittent operation during a break-in period. Combined with existing renewable technologies, the turbines have enabled the college to generate nearly all of its energy on site and to achieve the distinction of near carbon neutrality for campus operations.

"The wind energy project is the crowning achievement in our portfolio of green energy projects. Combined, these renewable technologies provide an invaluable learning tool for the general public as well as students pursuing green careers in our Natural Resources and Energy Management programs," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "The turbines have become a source of pride and a symbol of progress for the college and for the local community."

The wind energy project, a collaboration between the college and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Administration & Finance, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Department of Energy Resources, is an integral component in the Massachusetts Leading by Example - Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings executive order to achieve statewide goals.

"Community projects like this one not only create jobs and local sources of energy but stabilize energy costs, which traditionally have relied on volatile fossil fuel markets," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "We're a proud partner in this project because it sets an example of clean energy leadership for the students, residents and businesses of this community.

During an April 2011 ceremony, the college dedicated the turbines in honor of Congressman John Olver, for his support for funding through the U.S. Department of Energy, and Edward R. Terceiro Jr., MWCC executive vice president emeritus and resident engineer, for his leadership on the project and other campus energy initiatives, and to both for their renewable energy vision.

A charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, MWCC was recognized with environmental awards in 2011 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Second Nature/ACUPCC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for its success in renewable energy and conservation.

Built in the early 1970s as an all-electric facility, the Gardner campus has been transformed over the past decade. In addition to wind energy, the college's energy initiatives include biomass heating, photovoltaic solar, solar hot water, and extensive energy conservation measures. Since 2002, energy consumption at the 450,000 square foot campus has dropped from 9 million kWh to 5 million kWh, saving more than $4.5 million in utility costs while simultaneously benefitting the environment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Catch the Wind at MWCC" Communications Success Story Wins Top National Award

"Catch the Wind at MWCC,” a multi-faceted marketing and communications project developed throughout the construction and activation of Mount Wachusett Community College’s wind turbines, has received a top award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.
MWCC’s Marketing and Communications Division received the gold Paragon Award in the “Communications Success Story” category on March 13 during the NCMPR national conference in San Francisco. The division shares the honor with faculty, staff and students who  provided their talent, time and skills on various aspects of the campaign.

The construction and dedication of MWCC’s two 1.65 MW Vestas V82 wind turbines from September 2010 to April 2011 provided an extraordinary opportunity to showcase the college’s renewable energy initiatives through an in-house, multi-channel communications approach incorporating traditional media; social media; video and photography documentation; a special event; and staff and student graphic design contributions in the areas of signage, banners, invitations, event program and t-shirts.

From a communications standpoint, the project showcased MWCC’s decade-long commitment to sustainability and the college’s leadership role in the national climate commitment movement, while enhancing awareness about the benefits associated with renewable energy. 

The communications project consisted of ongoing press releases and story proposals to media outlets as the construction ensued and leading up to the April 2011 dedication ceremony; social media, including the launch of the Green on Green Street blog and posts to the college’s Facebook and YouTube pages; a turbine construction video and dedication ceremony video created by Broadcasting & Electronic Media Department Chair Joel Anderson, the Media Services Department and students; photography capturing virtually all aspects of construction for posterity and for use in the blog, media releases and other venues; and several graphic design projects, including those done in conjunction with Computer Graphic Design Department Chair Leslie Cullen and CGD students.

Independent judges selected to review the entries noted “excellent, sustained media coverage” and student creativity and participation as key factors that earned MWCC an A+ in the Communications Success Story category. More than 1,800 entries were submitted by some 200 colleges in over 40 categories.

Sponsored by the NCMPR, the Paragon Awards recognized outstanding achievement in communications at community and technical colleges. It is the only national competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. NCMPR is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MWCC Receives Funding for Science & Technology Wing

Local legislators and Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner Carole Cornelison visited MWCC on Feb. 21 to announce $800,000 to fund the design and study for a new science and technology building.

The project is envisioned as a 39,000-square-foot addition on the Gardner campus for new laboratories, specialized space, and general classrooms, as well as the replacement of the existing greenhouse and critical infrastructure upgrades and accessibility improvements to the Haley Building.  Following the design and study phase, the $37.9 million construction project will be one of the largest in North Central Massachusetts.

Students enrolled in MWCC’s Natural Resources and Energy Management programs, as well as the health sciences and other programs requiring science courses, would be among the beneficiaries of this new state-of-the-art wing. The preliminary plan for the addition includes 21 classrooms and 12 laboratories.

“This funding is an important investment in the future of MWCC and for the citizens of Central Massachusetts,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre).  “As we come out of one of the worst recessions in history, investments like this one that improve infrastructure and invest in education are important to our continued economic growth.”

The study of the school, its needs, and the site for the addition could take about six months to a year to complete followed by approximately one year for the design process before the project goes out to bid.  Money for the project will come from a state-authorized bond.

President Daniel M. Asquino welcomed the state officials to the campus and provided a tour of the campus. Founded in 1963, Mount Wachusett Community College built its main campus in Gardner in the early 1970s. Joining Senator Brewer and Commissioner Cornelison for the announcement were Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster), Representative Stephen DiNatali (D-Fitchburg) and Representative Richard Bastien (R-Gardner).

“We’re excited for the opportunities this new science and technology building will provide for our students,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We greatly appreciate the support of our legislators, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Patrick-Murray administration for this project, and their commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for students who traditionally remain in the Commonwealth after graduating and contribute to the betterment of our communities.”

“This is a structurally sound building, but it is 40 years old. The science labs and a majority of the classrooms are 40 years old. The new building will allow us to update all of our classrooms and laboratories, which support our science and health care programs. It will truly bring the entire campus into the 21st century. When our students graduate, they will leave with a state-of-the-art experience,” President Asquino said.

“It is tremendously gratifying to see the Patrick-Murray Administration’s ambitious capital program for higher education come to fruition,” Commissioner Cornelison said. “We are working hard to build first class public higher education facilities in every region of the Commonwealth, and this project at Mount Wachusett Community College is yet another example of the administration’s commitment to that goal.”

Pictured: MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino with DCAM Commissioner Carole Cornelison, Senator Stephen M. Brewer and Representative Richard Bastien on a tour of the 40-year-old main campus to view areas that would benefit from a new science and technology wing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

MWCC in American Wind Energy Association 2012 Calendar

MWCC is delighted to be included in the American Wind Energy Association's 2012 calendar!

The AWEA invited the college to submit photos for consideration, then selected a group shot of MWCC employees and a Vestas trainer as they prepared to climb to the top of the north wind turbine in February 2011.

The group, included Vice President of Finance and Administration Bob LaBonte, Director of Maintenance and Mechanical Systems Bill Swift, Electrician Norm Boudreau, HVAC Mechanic George Couillard and Vestas Technical Trainer Bill Fulkerson. The photograph was taken by Kim Anderson, a former MWCC dual enrollment student and Fitchburg State University alumna who worked in the college's Marketing & Communications Division as an intern during the spring 2011 semester.

Based in Washington, D.C., the AWEA is a national trade association representing wind power project developers, equipment suppliers, services providers, utilities,  researchers, advocates andothers involved in the industry.