Operations - Sustainable Valencia


Energy and Climate

President Shugart’s Commitment The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is a high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption undertaken by a network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to President Shugartre-stabilize the earth’s climate. Its mission is to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society. shugart The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in educating the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming and help create a thriving, civil and sustainable society. Dr. Shugart signed the commitment on June 16, 2009. As of February 2014, 679 colleges and university presidents have signed the commitment. Read his commitment here. ACUPCC institutions have agreed to:

Complete an emissions inventory.
Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.
Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.
Programs such as recycling, converting to organic fertilizers, using renewable energy, or replacement of older less efficient machinery can help reduce our footprint. The College’s major GHG source include:

  • Electricity Consumption
  • Natural Gas Consumption
  • Vehicle Fleet Fuel Consumption
  • Commuter Fuel Consumption
  • Fugitive Emissions from refrigerants
  • Solid Waste
  • Emissions from applications of fertilizer


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Health effects that have been associated with indoor air pollutants include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches, dizziness, and fatigue; respiratory diseases; heart disease; and cancer.

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Since 2006, Valencia College has built all new buildings to LEED Silver or Green GlobesLevel 2. Learn more about our green buildings here. In addition to constructing “green” buildings with better materials and more daylighting, Valencia also maintains a green cleaning program that utilizes Green Seal products as a way to reduce indoor toxins.

Allied Health Sciences (West Campus)
Allied Health Sciences
Special Events Center (West Campus)
Special Events Center
University Center (West Campus)
Allied Health Sciences
Building 10 (West Campus)
University Center
Lake Nona Campus
Osceola Campus




All of the Valencia College campuses have elements of the natural Central Florida environment. West Campus employees have catalogued several animal and plantpopulations on their campus. We seek to maintain and enhance these to use each Campus as a Living Laboratory. Special attention is given to using Florida native plants, creating wildlife habitat and living laboratory opportunities, integrated pest management (IPM), protecting water quality and campus water fronts, and organic fertilizers.

  • Tree Campus USA

Valencia College has been awarded the Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation. The college achieved this designation by meeting the required five core standards for sustainable campus forestry.

Read Valencia’s Tree Care Plan here. Contact Dave Gennaro, college-wide Director of Grounds at dgennaro@valenciacollege.edu or (407) 582-3453 to be added to the Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee email list for meeting invitations and agendas or to learn more. Quarterly meetings are held the third week in January, April, July, and October to discuss strategies and areas to advance the quality and benefits of campus trees. The committee is open to Valencia employees and students, as well as community tree professionals.



  • Campus as a Living Laboratory

Outdoor Classrooms 

Outdoor Classrooms at West and Osceola Campuses can be reserved in the same way that regular indoor classroom reservation. Outdoor classrooms provide an alternate space for instructors to get their students closer to the subject they are learning about, to stimulate student creativity and productivity by being in the outdoors with sunlight and fresh air, or to change up a routine classroom schedule or meeting.

Educational Signage
Adding educational signage to outdoor features provides instructors and students with learning opportunities outside of the classroom. In the future, these preliminary efforts may be expanded with a long term plan for outdoor educational signage as part of a Living Laboratory plan.


Caption: West Campus educational double sided kiosks built by a local Eagle Scouts trooppositioned along the Lake Pamela Trail.


Nature Walks
Nature walks have been provided by different faculty, staff, and students over the years at the East, West, and Osceola Campuses. To inquire about scheduling a nature walk at your campus, contact Resham Shirsat, Director of Sustainability at rshirsat@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-1830.





Pollinator Gardens and Habitat

Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, bats, and birds are in global decline. All three major campuses (East, West, and Osceola) have small pollinator gardens to educate students about the role of birds, bats, bees, and butterflies in our food system and ecosystem. West and East Campus also have bat boxes that are both inhabited. Building bird boxes has been a popular hands on activity at West Campus Learning Day over the last few years with participants’ boxes being used to support campus populations or taken home to support backyard wildlife habitats. Osceola Campus has osprey towers which we hope to replicate at other campuses.

Waste and Recycling

Valencia’s recycling program started in February 2007 with the voluntary collection of paper at our East and West Campuses. The number of campuses participating and the streams of recyclables grew to include more materials. The College has always practiced multi-stream recycling, meaning that recyclables are separated at the source through different bins for different materials such as paper/cardboard (aka “fiber”), plastic, and aluminum.

In 2016, the College transitioned to single stream recycling through a new vendor for several reasons:

  • Make recycling easier for employees and students
  • Align with what most of Central Florida already practices
  • Decrease custodial labor time and plastic liners needed to support three (aluminum, plastic, paper) recycle collection bins vs. one
  • Single stream collection bins require less floor space

Beginning in September 2016, you can comingle paper, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic all into one recycle bin, like many are already used to at home. Please keep trash out of recycling bins to avoid contamination penalty fees and to prevent collected recyclables from contaminated, which results in recycling going to landfill instead of being turned into new products.

Plant Operations/Custodial and Sustainability manage this program.

Printer Cartridges and Toners

As of January 2016, a single vendor (PCR America) has been identified to serve all campus locations to provide free recycling of unwanted or used printer cartridges and toners within the United States, free shipping, a small financial return per unit, and sustainability metrics reporting.

An implementation toolkit can be downloaded here. Employees can simply place their unmarked and unpackaged used ink cartridge or toner from work or home directly into the outgoing mailbox. We have partnered with Courier Services to collect and store these items at College shipping and receiving warehouses until there are enough to be shipped out on pallets. Students may bring in their used items and place them in the collection bin which can be found in any campus library.

Sustainability, Courier Services, and Procurement manage this program.


In 2015, a single vendor (EcoDepot) was identified to serve all campus locations to provide free reuse and recycling of used or broken pallets. A modest return of 0.05 cents per pallet is returned to the College.

Plant Operations manages this program.


Transportation makes up almost half of the College’s carbon footprint. It is challenging to participate in modes of alternative transportation such as the bus, train, carpooling, biking, and walking in Florida since the state has not been developed with pedestrians and bicyclists in mind. This is slowly changing in the Central Florida region, with more emphasis on biking infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The College currently has charging stations on East and West Campuses.

  • East Campus, northeast corner Parking Garage, 1st Floor
    • Two single units and 1 double unit (4 plugs)
  • West Campus, northeast side of AHS building, Parking Lot B
  • West Campus, northeast corner of Parking Lot F

Installing EV charging stations at each campus is a goal and is being investigated currently. Orlando currently ranks 2nd in the state of Florida for electric vehicle sales according to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and is a top 30 national market for numerous models including the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt and Tesla Model S according to Pike Research.

ReThink Your Commute

ReThink Your Commute is a free online tool funded by the Department of Transportation to promote and facilitate carpool matching in Central Florida.

A summer 2013 survey of over 3000 students from East and West Campuses indicates that 75% of students drive their own cars to campus. Data indicates that approximately 30% of Valencia College staff live 15 miles from campus or more.

Carpooling can bring tremendous savings in cost of gas, tolls, and car maintenance to each student or Valencia employee. Set up an account to be matched up with other riders with the same or similar commute schedules as you by click on this website, click Find Me a Match and sign up.
There is even an Emergency Ride Home program with ReThink for occasions in which you have to get home before the carpool.

Consider these Tips for a Successful Carpool


Try riding the bus (Lynx). There is an easy online tool to help you plan your trip from point A to point B.

Sun Rail 

Try riding the train (Sunrail). Plan your trip using the map and schedules provided.

Biking is a healthy and effective way to travel. Central Florida is currently evolving to provide safer and more functional infrastructure for bikers. Here is an overview of how biking addresses many college student related issues.

Juice Bike Share

Winter Park Campus has a Juice Bike Share rack with five bicycles to serve students. They also have a bike club and Cycle Savvy safety classes through ReThink Your Commute. Contact Valerie Woolman for more Winter Park Campus specific questions about biking.
We hope to integrate biking infrastructure and opportunities for biking at more campuses in the future.