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Home­Colleges in Action ­ Success Stories ­ Alfred State College's Template for Success: Infusing Sustainability

Program Design & Delivery

Alfred State College's Template for Success: Infusing Sustainability

Alfred State College (ASC) maintains an excellent college-wide commitment to sustainability and green programming. Before adding new programs or revising existing curriculum, “green focused” modules are first embedded into program courses and outcomes allowing college faculty and staff to assess need for additional offerings and/or degrees based on regional workforce needs and student interest.

Background

ASC is a comprehensive college of technology in the State University of New York System enrolling 3700 full time students at two campuses. Project-based learning permeates the culture at ASC and students participate in hands-on learning. According to college research, employers find that the College’s active, engaging and dynamic learning produces students who truly know how to solve real-world problems. As a result ASC has a 99% placement rate for graduating students.

Alfred State College has constructed a Zero Energy Green Home on the Wellsville campus. This showcase home was constructed completely by Alfred State College students in 2009 to 2011 and is funded primarily by the Federal Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

The home was built to National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) green building standards and is certified Gold. The project has allowed the college to integrate green construction and renewable energy education into existing applied technology programs at the college.

This project will continue to educate the future construction workforce in green building techniques including green construction, energy efficiency, and renewable energy systems including geothermal, solar thermal, photovoltaic and small wind. The home is being used as an open laboratory for the public and Alfred State College students.

The College includes a Center for Renewable Energy and the Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture providing training and curriculum via several grants. The college has a college wide Green Team including students, faculty and staff to focus campus wide sustainability projects.


Green Programming

After receiving feedback from program advisory boards about the need to include “green” in program outcomes, ASC decided to include modules focusing on green technologies to strategically determine regional labor need, enrollment, and equipment costs needed for entire courses and/or programs. For example, the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Electrician programs ASC have embedded small wind and photovoltaic systems modules into existing courses. Additionally, the Air Conditioning and Heating Technology program has embedded geothermal and solar thermal modules in their program.

As the need for “green jobs” expanded in the regional labor market, additional programs added modules focusing on renewable energy or sustainable agriculture. Programs that currently include green modules are:
  • Architectural Technology,
  • Agriculture,
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology,
  • Electrical Engineering Technology,
  • Electrical Construction and Maintenance Electrician,
  • Air Conditioning and Heating Technology,
  • Building Trades, and
  • Automotive Trades.

Alfred State College’s Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (COSA) will house not only ASC’s conventional dairy herd, but also an organic dairy herd so students can learn both conventional and organic protocols. The Center will include a 60-stall dairy barn, new heifer and dry cow housing (again, both conventional and organic), a new calf-raising barn, and upgrades to existing farm structures.
After determining the success of the imbedded modules and the growing need for expanded renewable energy programming, a Renewable Energy class has been added as a new program requirement for the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Electrician Associate in Occupational Studies program. The ASC Strategic Plan for 2011- 2016 includes actions and outcomes designed to expand renewable energy and sustainable curriculum opportunities for students, industry and community members.

Alfred State College’s Chief Sustainability Officer works with students and staff to enable, encourage, and align campus sustainability initiatives. The officer also works with faculty to integrate campus and community sustainability projects into courses and look for opportunities to incentivize teaching sustainability. The position is a direct report to the president.

For additional information:
Craig Clark
Executive Director of Wellsville campus and Dean of the School of Applied Technology
clarkcr@alfredstate.edu

- Center for Renewable Energy at Alfred State College
- Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture at Alfred State College
- Sustainability at Alfred State College
- Academic Programs Leading to Green Careers at Alfred State College
- Alfred State College Zero Energy Green Home

EVENT: Conference on Innovations in Technical Education to Advance Sustainability

June 14-17, 2012 at Alfred State College (State University of New York College of Technology)
Alfred, New York
This resource made possible with the generous support from the Kresge Foundation