Our sustainability courses and degree programs are top-notch, but at Florida Tech, “sustainability” goes beyond academics. Sustainability initiatives and practices have become core components of who we are.
“Sustainability issues involve almost everything,” says Dr. Ken Lindeman, co-chair of the University Sustainability Council (USC) and professor of ocean engineering and marine sciences.
6 Ways Florida Tech is Leading the Way for a More Sustainable Future
1. University Organization
Coordination and involvement of the whole Florida Tech community is a vital part of sustainability action. The USC, for example, is charged with compiling detailed data submissions to green accreditors, liaising with outside and on-campus organizations and spearheading many other sustainability efforts. Composed of more than 40 members, including 13 students representing diverse student organizations, the USC ensures broad coordination on sustainable initiatives campuswide.
2. Community Involvement
Many years of student senior sustainability research projects for the Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase have helped build first-ever sustainability plans for five local cities, including the largest city in the county, Palm Bay. Subsequent senior research students have then implemented diverse sustainability initiatives on the ground in these cities. Over 15 students from many campus majors have engaged in these unique campus-community partnerships.
3. Abundant Awards
Through its sustainability initiatives, Florida Tech has attained some remarkable accomplishments. Accolades like these speak for themselves!
AASHE Silver Stars Rating
One of only six universities in Florida with this prestigious campuswide award
Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges 2023
“We strongly recommend Florida Tech to the increasing number of students who care about the environment and want their ‘best-fit’ college to also ideally be a green one. Florida Tech demonstrated an exemplary commitment to sustainability and to green practices—and it offers excellent academic programs.”
—Rob Franek, editor-in-chief, The Princeton Review
LEED Building Certification
Home to two LEED-certified green buildings
Bronze-Level Bicycle Friendly University
For safe and accessible bicycling practices on campus
Sierra Club Cool Schools Ranking
Recognized for energy-efficiency actions
4. Impressive Infrastructure
From sustainable building design to building updates with modern, energy-efficient heating systems, LED lighting, automated controls and more, the facilities operations department plays a huge role in maintaining a sustainable campus.
“Facilities at Florida Tech is utilizing proven sustainable approaches that limit or reduce our impact on the environment because we know it is important to the campus community and beyond,” says Kirk Hemphill, director of maintenance.
Florida Tech Aquatic Center
In 2015, the Florida Tech Aquatic Center received a LEED Silver certification. Thanks to student senior sustainability research projects alongside the facilities operations department, the complex became one of the few green-certified pools in the state.
The Scott Center for Autism Treatment
Also the result of a partnership between student research teams and facilities operations, The Scott Center for Autism Treatment was Florida Tech’s first building formally built to LEED certification specifications.
Folliard Alumni Center
Currently in the application process for LEED certification, the new, state-of-the-art Folliard Alumni Center is a net-zero energy structure and serves as a model for a cost-effective, solar-powered commercial office building design for a Florida climate. It also features a Lagoon-Friendly Lawn, using native plants that reduce water usage and nutrient runoff to help prevent algal blooms and fish kills in the Indian River Lagoon. The building has received both the City of Melbourne Beautification and Energy Efficiency Board’s Melbourne Clean Energy award and Diamond Gems award.
Panther Dining Hall
Panther Dining Hall has various vegan offerings and uses state-of-the-art systems to reduce waste, recycle water and sanitize dishes for reuse in the dining room. The adjacent grocery store also has a variety of organic offerings.
5. A+ Academics
Sustainability Studies, B.S.
The sustainability studies major program expands on Florida Tech’s science and technology strengths in combination with customized business and social science courses to satisfy industry, government and nonprofit needs for graduates who can operate across multiple disciplines.
“This is entrepreneurial, STEM-based sustainability, since many sustainability programs are not science- and tech-based. Yet, majors also take a minimum of five business courses,” Lindeman says.
Open to undergraduate students in any Florida Tech program, sustainability minor students are required to conduct a capstone research project.
“Over the past 13 years, more than 165 students have graduated with either a minor or bachelor’s degree in sustainability at Florida Tech. Those minor students represent over 30 undergraduate programs from all colleges on campus,” Lindeman says.
Communicating Sustainability Course
Students in this new School of Arts and Communication special topics course produce a documentary and related media materials highlighting sustainability initiatives. The course teaches applied communication strategies and tactics and how to apply them in the context of sustainability narratives.
6. Student Organizations
An integral part of Florida Tech’s sustainability efforts are the student organizations that focus on sustainability education through events and practical hands-on activities. Some of these include:
Student Organization for Sustainability Action SOSA
One of the older campus sustainability clubs, SOSA conducts projects and events on and off campus to advance sustainability initiatives. Projects include spring and fall Earth Week events and other activities with many campus and community partners.
Residence Life Sustainability Committee
Composed of residence hall advisors and directors from all campus housing areas, this committee manages the Leave Green program, which recycles materials during the end-of-year move-out, as well as other important campus energy and recycling projects.
Ethos Community Garden
This student-run community garden teaches members how to grow plants—from native flowers to eggplant trees and everything in between—and about sustainable growing practices.
The Green Paw Print is your one-stop shop for everything sustainability at Florida Tech.
This piece originally appeared in the 2022 edition of Florida Tech’s prospective-student magazine, The Pursuit. It has been updated here for 2023.