SOUTH Staffordshire College has continued its winning streak by landing a top environmental award.
Its Foster Centre, based at the Rodbaston Campus, was announced the winner in the Environmental Regeneration category at the 2012 Southern Staffordshire Regeneration Awards. Nearly 40 projects competed for prizes in four categories – economic regeneration, social regeneration, environmental regeneration and cross cutting projects.
The awards are part of a wider initiative to develop the knowledge base of regeneration using exemplar projects, promoting and sharing best practice on regeneration schemes, and raising the profile and relevance of economic regeneration in partner organisations.
The college was one of seven organisations shortlisted in the environmental regeneration category and judges said: “We liked this project because it was ambitious – it went for and achieved the BREEAM excellent standard. It was innovative, not just in terms of environmental sustainability but also in how other issues had been considered like how to integrate students with learning difficulties with the rest of the student body.
“But what really made the project stand out was how the building itself is now a learning tool that will help educate and inspire all future students to be environmentally responsible.”
The Foster Centre incorporates heating powered by a biomass boiler, a rainwater harvesting system to provide recycled water for flushing toilets and energy ‘dashboards’ that display energy consumption data .
Steve Grant, director of estates at the college, said: “The Foster Centre demonstrates that we are committed to leading the way in sustainable development within the education sector. We have produced an educational tool that not only provides an outstanding learning and social environment for our students but has become the heart of the Rodbaston Campus.”
The win followed the college’s earlier success in lifting the Times Educational Supplement Outstanding Practice in Sustainability award. Hundreds of further education providers submitted entries for the 13 categories that recognise achievement in employer engagement, innovation in teaching, leadership and entrepreneurship.
South Staffordshire was one of six colleges shortlisted for the sustainability award.
Working with companies such as Veolia, the college has developed foundation degrees in environmental sustainability, helping employers and the education world to share cutting-edge practices.
South Staffordshire College opened its doors to students in January 2009 and provides vocational and academic courses to students from age 14 up to adults and employs more than 1,000 staff, working with a student body of 20,000.