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Purchase Initiatives Honored for Sustainability

HARRISON, N.Y. - The introduction of the Big Belly trash compactors was only one of the sustainable initiatives at Purchase College last year. The college was honored last month at the Business Council of Westchester's first Westchester Green Business Challenge Recognition event for leading the way in green technology.

"I’m glad that the Westchester Green Business Council has created this recognition," said Joe Tripodi, a Pound Ridge resident and purchase sustainability coordinator. "The scorecard was impressive in that it required a good deal of input about a wide variety of policies, practices, efforts and achievements."

The College was one of 80 businesses and organizations in the county to be honored for becoming more sustainable and cost effective. County Executive Robert Astorino and Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester presented the awards.

Purchase College was named one of America's greenest colleges by the Princeton Review and it is also in the Sierra Club's "cool schools" top 100 list.

"For me, the takeaway from this and other awards Purchase College has received is the importance of continuous improvement," Tripodi said. "Recognition and awards are a way of being told 'congratulations,' but they’re not an end point. They are a starting point for assessing what you’ve done and where you are now to use as a guide toward good decisions, next steps, and how to keep improving."

Other green initiatives implemented by the college include a campus garden, a graduation pledge for students and car services provided by Zipcar.

Future programs, Tripodi said, could include consideration for a grant from the New York Power Authority to install solar collectors to provide 70 percent of the college's electricity.

"Sustainability-related pursuits at Purchase College run the gamut," Tripodi said. "All over the world, people’s actions contribute either to the problem or to the solution. Purchase College is loaded with people contributing to the solution every day."

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