Troy University Receives Recognition as 2019 Green Ribbon School

Troy University is receiving love for its efforts to improve the environment and reduce utility costs.

The University’s construction of Janice Hawkins Cultural Park, and other initiatives, lead the Alabama State Department of Education to name the University its 2019 Green Ribbon School.

The Award is based on criteria, including students access to the environment and ways that the university helps improve the habitat.

“It was pretty much an abandoned area of overgrown invasive species, and plantings, and kudzu and erosion,” Director of Facilities Mark Salmon says.

He was describing what the park looked like before university officials, including Janice Hawkins, wife of the Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr, cleaned up and restored the property.

Years later, it has been transformed into a place on campus that concerts, pep rallies, and other events are held.

“Students can retreat to, sit on benches on a nice day in the outdoors and study, do homework or just relax,” Salmon says.

The university is planning other projects, including more walking trails and cleanup of wooded areas around campus.

“A lot of times we’ll get very much channeled into working on these projects, and when we step back and we see and enjoy the outcomes of these efforts, its rewarding.”

The award is also putting a spotlight on the university’s recycling programs that give students hands on research. Partnerships with ADECA and other organizations have resulted in grants and other incentives that help make the university “green.”

“An active program with that on campus, our focus is clearly on engaging our students, helping them create an awareness of things that they can recycle,” Salmon says.

Associate Dean for Student Successes Jonathon Cellon says there is still more work to be done, but the university is on the right track.

“I think this is just one step in that direction, and certainly something that we want to continue to do and continue to improve on,” Cellon says.

The university will be recognized at the Alabama State Board of Education meeting in May and celebrated with a picnic hosted by the Green Ribbon Schools Committee. It will also be nominated to be recognized as a United States Department of Education Green Ribbons School, competing against other schools throughout the country for the award.

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