June 2010, Volume 14, Number 3

Academics

Going Green

CROPS staff

Environmental awareness is blossoming everywhere this year at Miami Dade College. Outdoor immersion programs for MDC faculty helped them incorporate environmental lessons into their curricula. An on-campus organic produce market gave MDC a taste of the benefits of going green. And thanks to the many programs offered by the North Campus' Green Urban Living Center and the Wolfson Campus' Earth Ethics Institute, faculty and administrators were not the only ones who went green this year. The community at large is also becoming more attuned to environmental concerns.  

Nearly 400 students in grades one through 11 visited the Green Urban Living Center’s outdoor garden to learn about organic agriculture and try out their green thumbs. Some had even started their own organic gardens, such as the students from Troy Academy, a school for children coming out of the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center. They participated in a program called Gardens of Troy, which teaches the importance of nourishment and responsibility. During their visit to the Center, they saw how other gardens are flourishing completely free from pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

Meanwhile, the Earth Ethics Institute worked with the Center for Community Involvement to form CROPS, the College’s first club dedicated to distributing organic fruits and vegetables to the MDC community. Every two weeks at the Wolfson Campus, students in CROPS, which stands for Community Rooted Organic Produce Services, received fruits and vegetables from local growers and sold them to students at discounted prices. For the MDC community, the club offered affordable, high-quality produce easily accessible in the downtown area. At the same time, the club helped foster an appreciation for local farmers and sustainable organic produce.  

Professors also emphasized environmental awareness in the classroom, especially after many participated in the Institute’s Outdoor Immersions field trips to locales such as the Everglades, Oleta River State Park and Virginia Key Beach Park. Designed to create greater awareness for South Florida’s unique ecology and hydrology, the immersions encouraged faculty to incorporate what they learned into their lesson plans.

By year’s end, the Green Urban Living Center, which opened in 2007 and offers classes in eco-friendly living, had undergone a complete renovation. Using green technology and building practices, classroom and kitchen spaces were remodeled. New computers, projection screens and multimedia equipment were brought in to help students find green jobs. In the upcoming year, the Center plans to add more field trips and augment class enrollments. In addition, it plans to serve as a venue for green weddings.  

"The biggest accomplishment for this year was really the new construction. It’s going to open up a world of opportunity for the community to understand not only what it means to be green but also that you can be profitable from it in a business setting and prosper from it in your own life," said Marcia Anderson, program coordinator.

— NM


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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