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The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a nationwide, student-led campaign to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—or “real food”—by 2020. On April 26, 2016, Florida Gulf Coast University became the first school in Florida to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment. With this commitment, we pledge to have 20% of the food served in South Village and through catering meet the RFC criteria by 2020. Thereafter, FGCU will continue to increase the amount of food meeting the RFC criteria until 60% is achieved. Read more about this historic commitment on FGCU360now and stay tuned for details and progress reports on the FGCU Campus Dining sustainability page.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)’s mission is, “to inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.” Our AASHE membership supports us as we integrate sustainability deeper into our institutional DNA by helping us benchmark and measure our progress towards sustainability goals and offering continual training and resources for our campus community.
FGCU has been a dedicated AASHE member since 2006, when it was one of only 50 institutions that participated in the Sustainably Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) pilot. The university earned a STARS Silver Rating in 2011 and a Gold Rating in 2014.
Florida Gulf Coast University signed the Carbon Climate Leadership Commitment in 2007. In doing so, we pledged to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible. Second Nature, the Climate Leadership’s direct support organization, defines carbon neutrality as, “having no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to be achieved by eliminating net GHG emissions, or by minimizing GHG emissions as much as possible, and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions.” Upon signing the Commitment, FGCU set a climate neutrality date of 2050 and agreed to immediately take the following tangible actions:
The tangible actions established by FGCU upon signing the agreement were our first step to taking more carbon out of the earth’s atmosphere than we put into it on an annual basis. As we continue on our path to carbon neutrality, we regularly submit Greenhouse Gas Reports, Climate Action Plans, and Progress Reports to Second Nature. All reports can be viewed on the Second Nature's Reporting System.
The Earth Charter is, “an ethical framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century.” Florida Gulf Coast University has been an International Affiliate of the Earth Charter since 2009, when President Bradshaw signed the Affiliation Agreement recognizing the connection between FGCU’s mission and the principles of the Earth Charter. FGCU is presently the only Affiliate in the United States and many of the tangible actions to support our association with the Earth Charter are coordinated by FGCU’s Center for Environmental & Sustainability Education (CESE). Please see the CESE's webpage for more details.
Tree Campus USA is a program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, which recognizes college and university campuses across the nation that:
FGCU’s Physical Plant coordinates our Tree Campus USA efforts. Please see their webpage for more details or to get involved.
RecycleMania encourages universities to increase recycling efforts, reduce wastes, and raise environmental awareness through a fun and friendly student-led competition that measures and benchmarks recycling activity in an effort to improve campus programs over time. Florida Gulf Coast University has been participating in RecycleMania since 2010. Past results can be viewed on RecycleMania's scoreboard and are summarized in our STARS report.
Students interested in participating are encouraged to watch this instructional video and contact the Student Government Director of Sustainability to earn service learning hours or be assigned to help coordinate volunteers and events.
Florida Gulf Coat University’s membership to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) supports us by offering our campus educational opportunities and resources such as the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification program. These help us decrease our ecological footprint and meet our carbon emissions reduction goals.