The Illinois Community College Sustainability Network (ICCSN) has hired core staff to assist community colleges with developing and implementing their sustainability centers and programs. To date, ICCSN has selected 12 college campuses throughout the state to host physical sustainability centers and three campuses to host green economy centers. The following year, the ICCSN will increase sustainability centers from 12 to 20 and green economy centers from three to five. Within three years, ICCSN intends that all 48 colleges will have created either a virtual center on their website or a physical center on campus - or both.
ICCSN will create a new website to facilitate discussions and information sharing as well as to provide the colleges, businesses and communities a common resource for information on sustainability, the green economy and green events, classes, workshops, etc. around the state.
ICCSN will host meetings throughout the state to encourage information sharing amongst colleges, and will hold monthly meetings for all colleges that have been selected to have a sustainability center this year. These meetings will ensure proper protocols are being followed and the appropriate standards will be set. In addition, these meetings promote collaboration 'college to college', 'network to college' and 'college to network'. The ICCSN is lead by five colleges and their presidents through an intergovernmental agreement; the College of Lake County is the administrative unit for the Network.
The ICCSN Executive Director and several Presidents of the Steering Committee have begun efforts in Washington D.C. to identify funding opportunities. With the aid of a lobbyist, the ICCSN will continue to seek federal and state funding. The ICCSN plans to form corporate partnerships and work with major utility companies in Illinois to secure additional funds for the full deployment of ICCSN. The ICCSN will secure funding through other opportunities as they arise.
The need for the ICCSN was established when several community colleges began working independently to create sustainability centers, green economy training programs and green courses. This typical 'silo' model of program development slows the proliferation of change. The ICCSN was formed to use a collaborative model to create these consistent education and training programs. In addition, community colleges are uniquely positioned to advance sustainability because the 48 colleges in Illinois cover the entire state and can reach every community. The network is dedicated to providing training and expertise to enable communities and businesses across the state to engage in the new energy economy. Initial funding has been awarded to ICCSN this year and has been provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Best Practice Information
Other: At this point, the resources ICCSN can offer would inlcude the framework for designing the organization, deployment plan and other information relating to the start-up of an organization such as this.