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Miami Dade College’s Green Urban Living Center at North Campus Advances College’s Green Mission

Teaching Project

Students helping create a Teacher's Garden

Miami, February 23, 2010 - When Miami Dade College’s (MDC) North Campus opened its Green Urban Living Center (GULC) in 2007, its plans were to promote environmental sustainability, health and wellness, and green jobs training through high quality, timely educational programs.  Now, nearly three years later, those plans have been met and they’re evolving into a steady brook, splashing vitality to all who draw near.

The GULC offers programs to K-12 students, MDC students, staff, the community and environmental professionals. 

“We are extremely proud of the important role that MDC’s North Campus, the college’s first campus, is playing in the institution’s overall environmental agenda with the Green Urban Living Center, the newly opened state-of-the-art Science Complex and gardens, our ongoing lake rejuvenation projects and others. Leading by example is the best way to effectuate change in the community,” said Dr. José A. Vicente, president of North Campus.

The Green Jobs Training program offers practical education and training with certifications in Photovoltaic Design and Installation, Environmental Hygienist, Weatherization, Home Inspection, Mold Assessment/Remediation and LEED.  GULC has also established community partnerships with national organizations that enable students to pursue career paths for jobs in renewable energy and energy efficient industries.

A Green Lunch Series is just one example of the timely educational programs on the burners of GULC’s Health and Wellness Program.  The program features classes on organic and vegetarian cooking, preparing and consuming natural juices, as well as classes on the benefits of raw food consumption, among others.  Its Lil’ Chef’s Healthy Snacks and Healthy Cooking course teaches younger students how to adopt healthy eating habits at an early age. Safe and effective exercise programs are also being promoted in classes such as Yoga and Pilates, while lifestyle education classes are being taught in lessons of alternative health, medicinal education and natural self care. 

The Environmental Sustainability program has helped transform part of the North Campus terrain around the old daycare building into a kids’ gardening club and a gardening class living lab.  Classes on what it means to be “green” as well as recycling education and tips on how to dispose garbage are also taught.  Native landscaping classes with lessons on lawn care, tree care and the cultivation of organic gardens are available. Butterflies and other insects have also descended on the facility’s gardens.    

“It has been an eye opening experience to watch the Green Urban Living Center transform from an old daycare building to a center that provides education in Health & Wellness, Environmental Sustainability, and Green Jobs Training,” stated Shonnda Smith, program manager.

“Sustainability is at the heart of every single aspect of world progress and North Campus is responsively engaging students and our community in education and training that leads to “green” awareness and formal learning as a means of contributing to workforce development and furthering the sustainability agenda,” added Dr. Vicente.

MDC…a Leader in Environmental Awareness and Education

In 1993, Miami Dade College created the Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) to coordinate college-wide efforts to promote environmental literacy, but the College’s “green” legacy goes back much farther. The Environmental Education Center at the Kendall Campus launched in the 1970s as a demonstration center of best practices well before the environment was a topic of popular concern.

Today, one of the College’s 10 Learning Outcomes states that graduates should be able to “describe how natural systems function and recognize the impact of humans on the environment.” All instructors in all courses are encouraged to include this outcome in their curriculum.

In addition, the College Strategic Plan, which guides its growth, added the theme of Environmental Sustainability in 2007. The Facilities Department has also revised its design and construction standards for new construction/remodeling/renovation of facilities to include sustainability requirements. Moreover, Green Teams have been established at MDC’s campuses to involve everyone in going green.

Finally, the College is also a signatory of The Talloires Declaration, which is a U.N.-sponsored action plan for institutions of higher education to create a culture of environmental sustainability.

For more information on the Center, please contact Shonnda Smith, program manager at 305-237-8250 or or Marcia Anderson, program coordinator 305-237-1138 or

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Cindy J. Irizarry, 305-237-3920,
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.