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  • CCC is proud to be a STARS bronze rated institution

    Central Community College has earned a STARS Bronze rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

    Read about CCC's bronze STARS award

  • Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS)

    Empowering leaders for a sustainable future

    Learn about SLPS and watch presentations

Environmental Sustainability

Welcome to Central Community College’s 3C Initiative page.

  • Message from the President

    Dr_ Matt Gotschall

    Welcome to Central Community College where our mission is to maximize student and community success!  Not just locally, but at the state, regional, national and international levels, we are committed to making a positive difference in the world. We highly value education of ourselves and others on sustainability topics and initiatives, including demonstration projects throughout central Nebraska.  This projects include a 1.7 MW wind turbine at the CCC-Hastings campus, high energy efficiency/renewable standards incorporated into our new Kearney Learning Center, Grand Island Bee Campus USA designation and pollinator gardens installed at each of our campuses in Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings.  We have enhanced cooperative learning activities between Agriculture, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts programs, while creating e-badges in a multitude of disciplines.

    At CCC we define environmental sustainability as meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (1987 Brundtland report).  This is especially important for central Nebraska regions so dependent upon clean water, fresh air and productive soils to grow the food needed to help feed the world. We have come a long way since first initiating more sustainable practices, but know we have farther to go in order to reach climate-neutral impacts by 2034.

    3C Brand

    Please take time to review this site further to see how we are striving to be good stewards of our environment and how you can be a part of supporting future generations through your actions today.

    Matt Gotschall, PhD
    Central Community College President

  • Signatory of

    Climate Commitment        SEED    

    Member Of

    AASHE        USGBC        Nebraska Recycling Council Logo

  • Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (ESAP)

    Central Community College’s Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (ESAP) spells out our commitment, goals and actions CCC is taking to be a great steward of our environment – for our students, community and the planet.

    Sustainability dashboard 

    The sustainability dashboard shows the consumption of electricity and natural gas for all of CCC and for individual campuses and centers on an annual basis.

    Computer management

    To reduce energy demand from computing devices at CCC, screens go into energy-saving mode after 10 minutes, sleep after 30 minutes and the computer will hibernate after 2 hours of inactivity.

    Temperature set-back

    CCC utilizes a temperature set-back in buildings during unoccupied times such as nights and weekends. This raises the temperature in the summer and lowers the temperature in the winter so that less energy is used to heat and cool unoccupied buildings.

    Hastings wind turbine 

    In partnership with CCC, Bluestem Energy, and the City of Hastings, a 1.7 MW wind turbine was completed in December 2016 on the Hastings Campus. When operating, this turbine provides most of the electricity needed for the Hastings campus.

    Hastings solar panels

    The Hastings Campus has a 17 kW ground-mounted tracking solar system south of the Merrick building.


    CCC has geothermal systems on the Grand Island and Hastings Campuses as well as at the Kearney Center. Geothermal systems use the ground as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer, thus reducing energy needs to heat and cool buildings. 

    Single stream recycling 

    CCC has made recycling easier than ever by adopting single stream recycling on the Columbus, Grand Island, and Hastings Campuses, as well as the Kearney Center, Ord Learning Center, and College Park. Single stream recycling means that all recyclable materials can be mixed together in CCC’s blue recycling bins. When in doubt, reference the recycling poster located on the front of blue recycle bins or the website above for what can be recycled at your location.

    Plastic bag recycling

    In partnership with Trex, CCC has added a plastic film recycling bin to the Columbus, Grand Island, and Hastings Campuses as well as the Kearney Center. The plastic film that is collected is reused to produced Trex eco-friendly outdoor decking.  Items that can be recycled in these bins are grocery bags, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, food storage bags, produce bags, ice bags, cereal liners, and more. For a complete list, please see the poster on the front of the bin. 

    Bike share 

    The bike share consists of 10 bikes, owned by the college, that any CCC student or employee can checkout to borrow at CCC-Columbus or CCC-Grand Island, for free. The bikes will be available for checkout any day and year-round, except in the winter. See our website for how to sign up.

    Bike fix-it station 

    In partnership with the Central District Health Department, CCC has added a do-it-yourself bike fix-it station to the Grand Island trail between Stuhr Museum and Highway 281, halfway between Hall County Park and the CCC – Grand Island campus. The fix-it station includes all the tools necessary to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs. There is also an air pump station with an air pressure gauge.

    Gasoline-electric hybrid fleet vehicles

    CCC has 10 gasoline-electric hybrid fleet vehicles across all 3 campuses. These hybrid vehicles are more fuel-efficient than traditional gasoline vehicles.

    Hospitality Management/Restaurant Management (HMRM)

    The HMRM program on the Hastings Campus runs their own dining service in the Platte Building. They have a vegetable and herb garden that is used when creating dishes, and two compost bins to turn food waste into compost that can be used in the vegetable garden. They also incorporate sustainability practices into their courses and plan an annual sustainability event.

    Water bottle fill-up stations

    Each campus has water bottle fill-up stations installed with the drinking fountains. Students and employees can use these to refill their water bottles with filtered and chilled water instead of using disposable bottles of water.


    CCC contracts with Chartwells for dining services on all three campuses. Chartwells is committed to sustainable food practices through sourcing food locally and reducing food waste.

    Columbus Pollinator Garden

    Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, the Columbus campus added a pollinator garden in August 2017. It is located south of the Facilities Management Offices, near the orchard trees. The garden is approximately 7,200 square feet and has about 1,460 flowers, grasses and shrubs.

    Grand Island Pollinator Garden

    Grand Island Campus added a pollinator garden in September 2017 and received the same grant as the Columbus Campus. The pollinator garden can be found on the east side of the Center for Industry and Technology (CIT) building. With more than 25 different types of native plants, phase one of the Grand Island pollinator garden has been completed.

    Hastings Pollinator Garden

    The Hastings HMRM program received a CCC mini-grant for a pollinator garden and planted it in summer 2017. The garden is by the east side of the Dawson building. It is near the HMRM vegetable garden, which will in turn benefit from the pollinators.

    Bee Campus USA  

    The Grand Island campus was named a Bee Campus in May 2017. CCC is one of only 29 in the U.S. to get the certification and the only school in Nebraska to be named a Bee Campus. Bee Campus USA rewards schools that educate students on the benefits of pollinators.

    e-Badge in Leadership in Environmental Stewardship 

    The e-Badge program was started in Fall 2016. An e-badge is an award that learners can share with potential employers, on their resume and with their social media networks.  Earned e-badges also appear on co-curricular transcripts at CCC.  CCC students, employees and other persons associated with the college can choose among the options in courses, community education classes and volunteer and service learning experiences offered by the environmental sustainability office and across the college.

    Community Education

    Many community education courses at CCC incorporate environmental sustainability into the course. In the community education brochures, these classes are noted by having 1-4 leaves next to the name of the class with 1 leaf meaning that sustainability is incorporated into the class and 4 leaves meaning that the class is solely focused on a sustainability topic.

    Campus Internships 

    The intern program for the environmental sustainability office began in 2014 and has continued to grow and develop. Interns take on a variety of duties and apply a variety of skills, such as, emailing, public speaking, following detailed directions, and working independently and as a team. Learn about our past and current interns here.

    Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series

    The Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS) is a monthly live broadcast of highly qualified and credible speakers, presenting on regional topics of sustainability and global and local environmental issues. The SLPS is currently in its fifth year at the college and its partnerships have grown to include four academic institutions and two non-profit organizations.

    3C Conversation 

    The 3C Conversation is a monthly event for students from across the college to meet other students and discuss environmental sustainability topics. Students have the opportunity to learn about new topics, discuss topics they are interested in, and ask questions.

    Earth Week 

    Each spring around April 22 (Earth Day), CCC hosts Earth Week events at each campus location to educate on sustainability and the importance of the environment. Events include vendor expos, presentations from local organizations, and tours. Be on the lookout for more information on this year’s upcoming Earth Week events.

    America Recycles Day

    CCC hosts America Recycles Day each year on November 15 on the Columbus campus. America Recycles Day is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • Adopt-a-Highway in Grand Island
    • State Fair
    • Recycling Audits
    • Community Walks
    • Summer Camps
    • Community Gardens