Second Nature, a national nonprofit that works to build a sustainable and positive global future through collaboration with leadership networks in higher education, in partnership with the Center for Green Schools, announced that Western Technical College and Appalachian State University have been selected to receive the sixth annual Climate Leadership Awards. 

The awards recognize innovative and advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience at college and university campuses that participate in Second Nature’s Climate Commitments. According to the organization, this year’s recipients show leadership through practices, partnerships and initiatives designed to tackle some of the greatest modern challenges. Examples of commitments made by these institutions include ongoing pursuit of green building practices, the development of a campus culture that embraces local sourcing, alternative transportation methods, innovative partnerships with their surrounding communities and cultivation of a sense of individual responsibility among students, faculty and staff. 

“The Climate Leadership Awards celebrate and support those at the leading edge of sustainability and climate action in higher education,” said Tim Carter, president of Second Nature. "We are continually impressed by what our network is capable of, and know they will keep pushing what is possible for higher education further.” 

According to Carter, this year marks the most competitive year yet, with close to 50 institutions vying for only two awards: one for a two-year, and one for a four-year institution. The winners were chosen from a pool of 19 finalists: seven finalists in the two-year category, and 12 in the four-year category.

“The leadership demonstrated by this year’s Climate Leadership Award winners is inspirational. These schools, their students, faculty and staff are committed to change through action,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

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