Media Contact
December 19, 2008

WORCESTER, Mass. – Dec. 18, 2008 – The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce recently recognized Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for the university’s academic, philosophical, and capital investments in going “green.”

The recognition compliments the many environmentally friendly initiatives at WPI. One especially impressive example of WPI’s commitment to green-friendly initiatives is the establishment of the President’s Task Force on Sustainability, which serves to drive a “sustainability sensibility” into WPI’s academic, research, and administrative endeavors. Further proof of the university’s commitment was demonstrated this past summer when WPI installed the city of Worcester’s first “living green roof” atop the university’s new residence hall, East Hall. That facility is on track to be the university’s second U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building.

“The Chamber of Commerce congratulates WPI for making an investment in going ‘green,’” said Richard B. Kennedy, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “East Hall’s green roof provides many benefits to the WPI community, including energy conservation, reduced storm water runoff, a wildlife habitat, and ongoing academic research.”

The university opened its first LEED-certified building – the Bartlett Center, home of WPI’s admissions and financial aid offices -- in 2006. In February 2007, WPI’s Board of Trustees voted to adopt a policy calling for all future buildings on campus to be environmentally friendly and LEED-certified structures.Gateway Park LLC, a partnership between the university and Worcester Business Development Corp., has transformed an area of abandoned buildings and contaminated properties into a thriving, award-winning site for life sciences research and economic development.WPI has also expanded its recycling program to include aluminum, glass, and plastic returnable and non-returnable containers. This fall, to tie in with the launch of Zipcar (an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping a car on campus) at WPI, the university also started offering reserved campus parking spots for Hybrid vehicles.

Academically, WPI launched this fall a bachelor of arts program in environmental studies. The new major is designed to educate future environmental professionals with the knowledge and skills that will cross boundaries and foster thought leadership in this important area. In addition, WPI offers an environmental engineering major, and the university’s commitment to sustainability can also be seen in the project work being done by WPI students and professors at sites around the globe.

“The Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize businesses, organizations, and institutions of higher learning in the Worcester region that are reducing carbon emissions, investing in alternative energy, incorporating recycling strategies, or reducing waste,” Kennedy said. “Every effort makes a difference.”