ELCA NEWS SERVICE
July 9, 2012
ELCA college awarded Second Nature Climate Leadership Award
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, was presented a 2012 Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature in recognition for the steps the institution has taken to be a leader in reducing its carbon footprint. Luther is one of 26 colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
"It was a terrific experience to be recognized," said Richard Torgerson, president of Luther. "This is truly a team effort. Many people have played a very important part in what we've achieved."
Luther College received the award at a June 21-22 ceremony in Washington, D.C. The award is one of 10 presented by Second Nature, the lead organization of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, and it honors colleges and universities in five categories: doctorate granting universities, master's degree granting colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, associate/tribal colleges and special focus institutions/others.
Luther College was one of two colleges awarded in the baccalaureate college category. Torgerson said the award was the result of several years of concerted effort to reduce energy consumption.
"We've set some pretty aggressive goals for reducing our carbon footprint," said Torgerson. "I think that climate change is something that we should all be concerned about. It's part of our mission statement about practicing stewardship of the resources we've been given."
Luther was also one of the first colleges to sign on to an agreement between colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action, and they've made carbon neutrality a strategic goal.
In the summer of 2011, they installed a 1.65 megawatt wind turbine on a highly visible bluff near the campus that now produces a third of the college's electrical energy.
They've also constructed a 3,780 watt solar panel near their library and are working to build a second solar panel project that will power its Baker Village residential complex, which is home to 100 students.
Other energy saving initiatives on campus include the use of biodiesel powered vehicles, improvements to their recycling and composting practices, and making efforts to purchase 35 percent of food service products locally.
"We want to be able to provide a learning experience for all of our students," Torgerson said. "We're hoping that when they go out of here and make their place in society that they will be aware of how they can live more sustainability."
Information about Luther College is available at http://www.ELCA.org/Growing-In-Faith/Education/Colleges-and-Universities/Find-a-College/Luther.aspx.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com