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Delta College Receives National Recognition for Sustainability Efforts

September 12, 2019

Downtown Saginaw Center chiller

One eco-friendly feature of the new Downtown Saginaw Center is an ice storage cooling system. The system stores cooling capacity at night when the building’s electrical needs are at a minimum and the utility prices are lower (off-peak hours). It circulates air through the ice the following day to cool the building.

Delta College ranked #6 in the community college category in the Top Colleges for Sustainability 2019 Sustainable Campus Index. The index, published by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), recognizes top-performing colleges in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall. Of note, Delta received higher than national average for all institutions in both the Campus Engagement and Buildings categories.

"I'm very proud of this 'Top College' ranking for Delta. We have sustainability in our strategic planning and everyone at the College, from students to the Board of Trustees, collaborates on these initiatives," said Dr. Jean Goodnow, President of Delta College. "All that we have done in these areas really does make Delta College a role model in Michigan and nationally." 

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. Delta College has participated in the STARS reporting process since 2008.

Overall Top Performers

  1. Nova Scotia Community College, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
  2. Mohawk College, Hamiton, Ontario
  3. Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon
  4. North Seattle College, Seattle, Washington
  5. Fleming College, Peterborough, Ontario
  6. Delta College, University Center, Michigan
  7. College of Lake County,  Grayslake, Illinois
  8. Western Technical College, La Crosse, Wisconsin
  9. Niagra College Canada, Welland, Ontario
  10. Johnson County Community College,  Overland Park, Kansas

Source: 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

Recent Delta College sustainability highlights

  • Last year, Delta was one of the first colleges in Michigan to be certified a Bee Campus, managing insecticide and pesticide use to be more pollinator friendly.
  • The new Downtown Saginaw Center was built for LEED certification, ensuring sustainable practices were considered throughout the building process and in its operations. The first Delta College building project to receive LEED certification was the Health Professions Building, which opened in 2014.
  • This past summer, students participated in the Citizen’s Climate Lobby Conference in Washington D.C., and also traveled to Costa Rica for a sustainability study abroad trip, learning about sustainable farming practices as well as nature conservancy.

For more information about sustainability at Delta College, or ways that you can get involved, visit