Emory & Henry College celebrated Friday two honors that recognize its long devotion to environmental preservation and to the outdoor wonderland that surrounds its campus.
Recently, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the college as the Individual Conference Champion of the 2015-16 College & University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
Meanwhile, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine has recognized the college as the top outdoor adventure college among small colleges and universities in the Blue Ridge Mountain area.
Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power use within the program. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that uses the most green power in a qualifying conference.
Emory & Henry College beat its conference rivals by using nearly 8 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Emory & Henry College is procuring a utility green power product from Collegiate Clean Energy. In addition, Emory & Henry College is generating green power from an on-site renewable energy system using solar resources. This demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.
“It shouldn't come as a surprise that our standing as one of the top outdoor schools is equally matched by our leadership on sustainability and resilience,” said John Heil, energy specialist for the college. "Emory & Henry shows what it looks like to be green.”
For its second honor, Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine named Emory & Henry a top outdoor adventure college following the college’s success in the annual top adventure school challenge. Despite often being the underdog in terms of student population, E&H was victorious in the small school bracket defeating Warren Wilson College, Montreat College, Berry College and UNC-Asheville.
In a bonus “David vs. Goliath” match, Emory & Henry lost a tight battle to two-time defending champion Western North Carolina, the winner of the large school bracket, for the overall championship.
The E&H Outdoor Adventure Program is available to the entire campus community. The goal of the program is to responsibly introduce E&H students, faculty and staff to the wonders of silent sports: hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, paddling, cross-country skiing and biking.
“The Emory & Henry Outdoor Program offers an adventure spectrum that is truly far and wide, but we are a non-competitive and inclusive group that welcomes students of all types and skill levels,” said Jim Harrison, director of outdoor programs.
One of the unique programs offered by the outdoor program at the college is the Semester-A-Trail Program. This academic opportunity allows students who are seeking a learning experience that goes well beyond the classroom to earn at least 12 hours of college credit in a single college semester while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, or completing an adventure of similar depth and scope.
You always want to win contests, but both the outdoors and environmental sustainability are two important areas of focus for the college and that makes these big accomplishments that more special. Jake Schrum President, Emory & Henry College