West Virginia Universitycontinues to be a leader in the development of sustainable practices in energy conservation and recycling efforts within the state. And now, a national facilities management organization is taking notice, recognizing the program for its originality and adaptability.

The WVU Environmental Conservation Awareness Now(WE CAN ) program has been selected to receive a 2008 Effectiveness and Innovative Practices award from APPA , a leadership in educational facilities association. The award recognizes programs and processes at education institutions based on the innovation, sustainability, documentation, management commitment, employee involvement and institutional benefits.

The WE CAN program is the Universitys initiative to increase recycling and conservation efforts through education and accessibility across the WVU campus. As one of only five recipients of the award nationwide, the program has demonstrated a high level of effectiveness and innovation with the ability for implementation at other institutions.

(The) WE CAN program was found to be very impressive,said Kevin Folsom, APPA vice president of professional affairs.The thing I remember most was the WE CAN -sponsored Ecolympics challenge. Residence halls competed against each other; whichever residence hall conserved the most energy and recycled the most over a four-week period would be declared the winner.

The other items were the light bulb exchange, presenting the program to incoming freshmen and the mouse pads printed with reminders to turn lights off,he added.

WVU Recycling Coordinator Barbara Angeletti said the award recognizes a wide range of campus efforts.

In the past year, the WE CAN program has greatly enhanced the services provided to the University,she said.Mountaineers Recycle, the Ecolympics, and our e-cyling and light bulb exchanges have helped educate the campus about the need to conserve our resources and increase our sustainable practices, and the University community has responded, dramatically increasing participation in all of the recycling and conservation efforts on campus.

The award and $4,000 prize will be presented to Angeletti and program co-coordinator Lisa Saurborn during a July 9 reception in San Antonio. Highlights from the WE CAN program will also be showcased in the APPA 2008 Hall of Resources and announced in the organizations Facilities Manager magazine.

The development of sustainable practices has been a major initiative for WVU and includes all aspects of campus life. Throughenergy performance contractsandgreen featuresincorporated into campus buildings, the University has invested millions toward the reduction of energy and water usage. WVU also providespublic transportationoptions, such as buses and thePersonal Rapid Transitsystem, to help reduce carbon emissions resulting from commuters.

In addition, the University has created several positions to help develop and manage sustainability programs and orchestrate recycling, conservation and educational efforts on campus. WVU recently hired a sustainability director,Clement Solomon, to oversee all aspects of the development of sustainable programs and processes at the University.

Large-scale programs under the WE CAN umbrella include arecycling programat each of the Universitys buildings; theMountaineers Recycleprogram, which collects recyclable materials from tailgaters at Mountaineer Field; the annualBlue and Gold Mine Sale, a huge yard sale with items donated by students and employees that benefits the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties; and theEcolympics, which encourages students in residence halls to increase energy conservation and recycling efforts.

Other outreach events includelight bulb exchanges, during which community members can exchange incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, and e-cyling events, where electronic devices, such as computers, VCRs and cell phones, may be recycled.

For more information about the WE CAN program, visithttp://wecan.wvu.edu.

APPA on the Net:http://www.appa.org/