Virginia Tech has been recognized as a recipient of the 2008 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for its commitment to the stewardship of Virginia's natural resources through the Sustainability Week 2007 Program.

In April 2008, the Sustainability Week 2007 partnership was presented the “Bronze Award” in the Environmental Program Government Category at the 19th Annual Environment Virginia 2008 Symposium held at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.

The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards are presented annually in recognition of the commonwealth’s environmental and conservation leaders. Sponsors of the awards include Virginia's governor, the secretary of natural resources, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and other partner organizations.

Sustainability Week 2007, held from Oct. 22 through 27, was a green partnership between Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, the local citizens group Sustainable Blacksburg, and the Environmental Coalition. The week-long program is the first of its kind in the area and featured over 40 environmentally-focused events aimed at entertaining, educating, and highlighting sustainability programs and practices. The program’s goal was to show residents how to build a sustainable campus and town by using local, environmentally friendly products to meet daily needs without depleting resources that will be necessary for the future.

The scope of Sustainability Week 2007 included a series of speakers, presentations, educations sessions, tours, fairs, exhibitions, activities, and films. The Campus Sustainability Fair featured exhibitors and educational sessions with firms who are currently engaged in providing new construction, renovation projects, and maintenance support to existing facilities on campus. The Sustainability Home and Transportation Fair featured sustainable exhibitors, alternate transportation, and educations session for the Blacksburg Community. Other activities during the week included tree plantings on the Drillfield, a campus alternate transportation program; and tours of the recycling center, the Blacksburg water resources, and a local organic farm.

Based on the popularity and positive feedback of Sustainability Week 2007, the planning partnership has begun plans to host Sustainability Week 2008 in late October.

PHOTO INFORMATION: (left to right) Pat Bixler, executive director, Sustainable Blacksburg; Susan Garrison, environmental manager, Town of Blacksburg; Kelly Mattingly, director of public works, Town of Blacksburg, and Denny Cochrane, energy sustainability coordinator, Virginia Tech

Written by Stephanie Haugen-Ray.

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