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APUS Celebrates Earth Day and Wellness

In the last five or six years, the prevalence of workplace wellness programs and sustainability initiatives has increased tremendously.  A 2012 RAND report sponsored by the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Health and Human Services notes that “92 percent of employers with 200 or more employees reported offering [health and wellness programs] in 2009.”  A 2011 KPMG report notes that “sustainability has moved up the corporate agenda over the past three years.”  According to the report, “sixty-two percent of companies surveyed have a strategy for corporate sustainability, up from just over half in February 2008…”  The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) now has nearly 700 signatories (including APUS), indicating the increasing environmental consciousness within the educational community. 

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College Campuses Celebrate Earth Day

By Kelly Wenner

As we celebrate Earth Day 2013 this week, it is only natural (no pun intended!) to showcase how college campuses are participating in the festivities. Here are some highlights from campus celebrations around the nation:

• At Baylor University in Waco, TX, students use the Earth Day holiday to promote how spirituality impacts activities such as organic farming and recycling;
• Bellevue College in Washington State offers a farmer’s market and a fashion show using garments made from only second-hand materials;
• Elmhurst College in Illinois offers its “Recycling Extravaganza” where students can donate electronics, clothing and appliances to local non-profit organizations;
• A Sustainability Carnival is held at Fordham University in New York City.  

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Voices of Sustainability at APUS: Green Living in Everyday Life

APUS Sustainability Committee member and German native, Gabi Gimbel, shares practical information to help us be more sustainable in our everyday lives in the podcast below.  From composting to recycling and beyond, Gabi lives sustainably everyday!  There is great information here – check it out!

Green Living in Everyday Life by APUS

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A Special Earth Day Project: Maintaining Green Roofs

by Dr. Carol Pollio
Program Director, Environmental Science at American Public University

Earth Day in Washington, D.C. this year started out a chilly 41 degrees. But the weather did not stop eighteen motivated folks from doing a service project to recognize the significance of the day. At 9 a.m., recent APU graduate Laura (Stopper) Batts led a team of National Park Service staff members, including APU student Tonya Watts, and me in weeding the Office of Natural Resources and Science’s green roof. 

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Images of Sustainability at APUS – Telecommuting

As a fully online university, American Public University System (APUS) is able to keep its carbon footprint comparatively low.  Because students are able to study from anywhere around the world, they are never required to travel to our campus in Charles Town, West Virginia.  By the same token, APUS has a telecommuting program for most employees. 

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Images of Sustainability at APUS – Porous Pavers

At American Public University System (APUS), environmental consciousness can be seen across our campus buildings.  From recycling bins in every building to green cleaning products and from solar power to parking lots, our dedication to sustainable practices is evident.  Because most of our campus buildings are historic and most were previously used as private residences, there was a general lack of parking available. 

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Images of Sustainability at APUS – Solar Array

In celebration of Earth Day, this week we will share a series of images representative of tangible sustainability efforts at American Public University System.  Happy Earth Day…everyday!


The American Public University System (APUS) solar array is the largest solar array in West Virginia.  The array contains 1,660 solar panels and doubles as a covered parking lot for staff. 

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Upcycling Pallets for Outdoor Projects: Pros and Cons

by Sarah Myers

American Public University System is no stranger to adaptive reuse (or “upcycling” on a rather large scale).  Etter Hall, the Samuel Washington House, and Gray Hall are three excellent examples of the university lovingly and efficiently renovating older buildings into office space.  On a smaller scale, APUS supported my tiny house project for my Master’s thesis where I was able to upcycle many different things for a new purpose. 

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APUS is a Finalist for a Climate Leadership Award

Second Nature recently notified American Public University System (APUS) that the school is a finalist for a Climate Leadership Award.  “The annual Second Nature Climate Leadership awards recognize innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability, climate mitigation and adaptation and institutionalized sustainability at signatory campuses of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment [ACUPCC].”

Each finalist was asked to create a 1-3 minute video highlighting sustainability efforts at their school. 

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Solar Power at American Public University System

In November 2010, American Public University System (APUS) completed its first green building, a 45,000-square-foot structure which recently received its LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).  Sitting atop that building are 99 solar panels which provide approximately 5 to 7% of the total energy for the structure. Just over a year later, the school completed another solar project, the largest in the state of West Virginia.

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