Mandi Green, Facilities Sustainability and Safety Coordinator at Western Illinois University, knew the school was a finalist for the 2015 Governor's Sustainability Award. But she didn't know whether the school won until she arrived in Chicago for the ceremony.
“I opened up the booklet and saw our name under the designees to be receiving the award. So it was pretty exciting,” Green said.
“I was texting every one back at the plant, saying, ‘Yes! We got it! We got it!’”
The award is given by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign.
Green said the Governor’s Sustainability Award was first presented in 1987, making it the nation’s longest-running state award to honor sustainability. WIU was one of 19 entities honored this year, and Green said the competition was stiff.
“We were not only up against other universities and colleges or other state entities. We were up against municipalities. We were up against county organizations. We were up against corporations – large corporations, small ones,” Green said.
“We were up against nearly every kind of organization you could think of within the state of Illinois. And we were one of 19 whose application stood out.”
Western’s application highlighted sustainable practices covering several years, including:
The addition of solar powered charging station umbrellas for electronics. The umbrellas were purchased with grant funding.
The installation of a bicycle repair station on campus, with a second station being set up.
The repurposing or recycling of 94% of the debris from the demolition of Wetzel Hall in 2012.