$1 Million Awarded For A Cleaner, Greener College Campus In The Bronx

Published on November 15, 2023, 9:34 am
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Today Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson and the Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BXEDC) announced Bronx Community College (BCC) as the winner of the inaugural Bronx Green Action Challenge, a first-of-its-kind environmental sustainability challenge. BCC will receive a $1 million award, funded by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to develop and implement a plan to improve campus sustainability and reduce the institution’s environmental footprint. Part of the funding will also be used to launch a new green jobs training program.

“Congratulations to Bronx Community College on winning the Bronx Green Action Challenge,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “The effects of climate change are being felt all around us and we must all do our part to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. The College’s proposal to create a Sustainability Hub that includes a rain garden to address flooding, a food waste composting and recycling program, as well as a green workforce training program will help address the environmental challenges of our Borough. I want to thank all the participating colleges and universities for their competitive spirit and the President of the Bronx Economic Development Corporation, Rob Walsh, for leading the development of The Bronx Green Action Challenge. Lastly, thank you to the New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin Driscoll for demonstrating his commitment to a cleaner, greener, and more eco-friendly Bronx through the funding of this great initiative.”

“Higher education is one of the Bronx’s strongest and fastest growing industries full of creative and intelligent young people with forward-looking climate ideas,” said Rob Walsh, President of the Bronx Economic Development Corporation. “We are honored to have received so many amazing proposals from schools from across the borough and congratulate BCC on winning the first Bronx Green Action Challenge. We look forward to seeing the innovative ideas come to fruition.”

“The Power Authority is pleased to fund the Bronx Green Action Challenge to bring innovative thinking from the academic community to address the borough’s sustainability challenges while prioritizing underserved communities,” said New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “It’s particularly rewarding to see how Bronx Community College, the recipient of this year’s award, has proposed community-led solutions in its ambitious climate action plan.”

BCC will use the $1M award to launch the BCC Sustainability Hub (BCCSH), which will address environmental issues on campus and create a green workforce training program. Specifically, the funding will be used to:

  • Save an estimated two million gallons of water annually by installing low-flush toilets.  That’s enough to fill more than four Olympic size swimming pools.
  • Create rain gardens to address flooding and erosion.
  • Compost nearly 900,000 pounds of food waste, keeping it out of the sanitation removal system.
  • Keep approximately 180,000 plastic utensils out of landfills.
  • Develop a solar roof demonstration and provide solar and wind turbine training certificate classes for BCC/CUNY students and Bronx residents. The amount of solar capacity converted from rooftops at Bronx Community College equates to the annual electricity needs of more than 100 typical New York City households, while potentially offsetting nearly 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually – the equivalent of taking about 40 gasoline-powered cars off the road.

“CUNY is committed to making our campuses more sustainable and reducing our University’s environmental footprint while also preparing our students to participate in the emerging green workforce,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We commend Bronx Community College for its crucial plans to address climate change, and we thank the Bronx Economic Development Corporation and New York Power Authority for their investment in BCC’s efforts.” 

“We are grateful to the Bronx Economic Development Corporation for its support of this sizable award, which will enable us to build upon Bronx Community College’s deep existing commitment to sustainability and serve as a leader in promoting green practices across our magnificent landmark campus,” said Bronx Community College Interim President Milton Santiago, Ed.D.

Seven colleges and universities submitted proposals for the Green Action Challenge. Proposals focused on one or more of the following areas: energy production, waste management, food sourcing, green space, transportation, and water. 

A panel of three judges evaluated the submitted proposals on a number of criteria to determine the winning college. The panel consisted of:

  • Paul Lipson of Barretto Bay Strategies and Founder of The Point Community Development Corporation, a pioneering CDC based in the Hunts Point section of The Bronx and active in the sustainability sector. 
  • Victoria Cerullo, Senior Advisor to First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright.
  • Kaela Mainsah, Vice-President of Environmental Justice at the New York Power Authority.

BXEDC developed the challenge as a creative way to enhance and further economic development in the borough. The selection process involved evaluating each application based on specific criteria to identify projects demonstrating feasibility, positive environmental impact, long-term sustainability, and campus and community engagement. 

The Power Authority is funding the award as part of its Environmental Justice program that supports the under-served communities located near NYPA’s statewide operations.

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About the Bronx Economic Development Corporation

The Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BXEDC) was established in March 1981 to advocate for the borough’s business community. BXEDC connects businesses to resources and provides them with direct capital access with a goal of strengthening and expanding current businesses.

To learn more, please visit here

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