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UTTC awarded “green building” fellowship
07 July 2009

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College will be getting some help in advancing its efforts to “build green” on its campus in Bismarck. UTTC was selected for a fellowship provided by the Kresge Foundation as part of a green building in higher education initiative.

      The fellowship provides a senior member of the college with an educational opportunity about green building and sustainability, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

Russell Swagger

      United Tribes will be represented by Russell Swagger, the college’s leading strategic planner. As vice president of Student and Campus Services, Swagger supervises UTTC’s campus construction projects that are part of the college’s long range growth and expansion plan. He is an enrolled member of the St. Croix Chippewa Tribe of Wisconsin.

      The fellowship will allow Swagger to attend a “green building” conference over the summer. The event includes training and networking in the techniques for sustainable campus building.

      “We’ve been exploring how to protect our environment and build a green campus,” said Swagger. “And we’ve done some of it already. I hope to learn more about the opportunities that are out there and to help us become more efficient in our energy use.”

      The fellowship was presented as part of a capacity building initiative of Second Nature, a national nonprofit based in Boston.

      “This fellowship program provides schools with the opportunity to learn about the resources and networks available to construct and renovate campus buildings in ways that save money, reduce environmental and health impacts, serve as educational tools, and increase student enrollment,” said Amy Seif Hattan, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Second Nature.

      The three year, $1.2 million initiative funded by the Kresge Foundation focuses on addressing some of the challenges faced by under-resourced colleges. Awards were based on an assessment of need, statement of interest, and campus sustainability capacity.

      According to Second Nature, buildings account for an estimated 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to global climate change.

      Many higher education institutions are constructing high-performance, healthy facilities that reduce or eliminate harmful emissions and waste. Minority-serving institutions have access to fewer resources, less in-house knowledge about green building, and limited opportunities to learn from schools that have excelled in this arena, the organization said.

      Among the 15 colleges and universities nationwide selected for fellowships in 2009 were two other tribal colleges: College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, WI, and Little Big Horn College, Crow Agency, MT.