News Release

Published on Thursday, May 28, 2009

Western Technical College announced today that it has been awarded a 2009 Kresge Fellowship Award. A total of 15 fellowships were presented by Second Nature, a national non-profit organization focused on sustainability in higher education, to advance campus green building at under-resourced institutions. Funding for these fellowships was provided by the Kresge Foundation, as part of a grant to Second Nature’s Advancing Green Building in Higher Education initiative.

The fellowship provides a senior member of the college community with education on green building and sustainability in higher education as well as peer-to-peer networking opportunities. Fellowship selection was based on a committee’s assessment of the institutions’ level of need, statement of interest, and campus sustainability capacity. Western has selected Mike Pieper, vice president of finance and operations, to represent the college in this fellowship opportunity.

Said Amy Seif Hattan, director of strategic initiatives at Second Nature, “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.”

Fellowship representatives will attend one of six noteworthy green building-related conferences, where they will have the opportunity for training, networking, and inspiration for campus green building. The fellowship award will compensate for travel, lodging, and conference registration expenses.

“I’m looking forward to participating in the sustainability conference,” said Pieper. “The Lunda Center on the La Crosse campus is nearly complete and will be LEED certified, but there is also much to learn about incorporating green building elements into remodeling projects and existing buildings.”

Buildings account for an estimated 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to global climate change. In the higher education arena, many institutions are constructing high-performance, healthy facilities that reduce or eliminate harmful emissions and waste. However, many religious, community, technical, minority-serving and state-supported institutions have fewer resources to spend on bricks and mortar projects, less in-house knowledge about green building, and limited opportunities to learn from schools that have excelled in this arena. Many are unaware that environmentally responsible construction can result in 10-20 percent annual energy savings over the long-term.

Second Nature is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that works to accelerate movement toward a sustainable future by helping senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just, and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education. Second Nature is the lead supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which has been signed by more than 630 school presidents who are committed to eliminating carbon emissions on campus and training students to help society address the climate crisis.

For more information on the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education initiative, please contact Amy Seif Hattan, director of strategic initiatives, at, or Ashka Naik, program manager, at

To learn about sustainability initiatives at Western Technical College, call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at