Virginia Tech placed third among the winners of the Green Commonwealth Challenge by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine late last month.

In June 2009, as part of Executive Order 82, Kaine challenged state agencies to reduce pollution and become more sustainable. The challenge invited agencies to use the period of June 15 through Nov. 15 to see how many deliberate, voluntary actions to reduce impacts to the environment could be achieved.

Specifically citing alternative commuting by employees and the pending Green Campus Challenge initiative, Virginia Tech was the only university listed among the top scoring participants.

The full list of top-scoring agencies in the Green Commonwealth Challenge were as follows:

  • The Department of Environmental Quality: The agency excelled in every one of the metrics reported.
  • The Department of Corrections: The Department of Corrections had extremely high rates of participation in electronic meetings, carpooling and alternative commuting. The agency also has a particularly extensive recycling and reuse program.
  • Virginia Tech: Many of Virginia Tech’s employees utilize alternative commuting. The university also is in the process of creating its own “Green Campus Challenge.”
  • The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS): DBHDS had high scores in each reporting area, and is also engaged in a number of other waste reduction practices.

“Many agencies and state workers are enthusiastic about learning how to do things differently to reduce their environmental impacts,” Governor Kaine said. “We also know that these actions save money, improve quality of life and increase employee productivity.”

Because the Green Commonwealth Challenge was a short-term effort, it focused on metrics that can easily be measured.

The challenge was entirely voluntary. Thirty-seven state agencies chose to participate, and all of them implemented practices to make government more efficient with regard to travel, electricity consumption, and recycling.

A full list of results achieved by the participating agencies and additional challenge information is available on the Official Site of the Governor of Virginia.

Other green and sustainability efforts are also underway at Virginia Tech. In June 2009, the university’s Board of Visitors adopted a resolution to fully support the university’s climate action commitment. The climate action commitment itself began development in 2008. Listen to Sustainability at Virginia Tech podcasts.

Additionally, Virginia Tech maintains a robust Office of Sustainability, which functions to help support the Climate Action Commitment and partners with the Town of Blacksburg and others annually for Sustainability Week – a weeklong event designed to help celebrate, educate, and inspire sustainable efforts on campus and in the surrounding community.


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