generosity times ‘tree’: committing to sustainability, creating environmental stewards and reducing carbon foot print

Arbor Day Foundation, Toyota Donate 100 Trees to be Planted at Valencia

Students and faculty at Valencia College West Campus will be planting 100 trees on Valencia’s West Campus on Mar. 29, as the college celebrates being named a Tree Campus USA.

Valencia College is one of seven Tree Campus USA participants hosting a tree-planting this year. The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.

The tree-planting event will start at 10 a.m., with student volunteers checking in to receive their T-shirts, hats and gloves. At 10:30 a.m., a ceremony will be held with representatives from the Arbor Day Foundation, Valencia College and the Florida Forest Service.

The trees, which are all native to Florida and packed in 15- and 30-gallon pots, were donated by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota to celebrate the college’s commitment to tree care and sustainability.

Following the West Campus ceremony at 10:30 a.m., students, staff and volunteers from the college and Arbor Day Foundation will plant a variety of trees in four parts of campus:

  • Winged elm and Southern red cedar trees will be planted on the southern and western sides of buildings to reduce the buildings’ energy use
  • Longleaf pine trees will be planted in the open fields near Kirkman Road for sandhill restoration
  • Southern slash pines will provide screening and habitat near the south entry road to the college
  • And a wide variety of native trees will be planted near Lake Pamela, an area that will serve as a living laboratory for educational use

“We at Valencia are deeply honored to have been named a Tree Campus USA and to have been chosen to receive such a generous donation from the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota,” said Dr. Sanford Shugart, Valencia College president. “We take seriously our goal of educating the whole student and we believe that includes teaching our students to be stewards of the environment.”

Valencia is one of 674 colleges and universities that have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, with a goal to reduce the college’s carbon footprint 25 percent by the year 2025. Planting trees is one strategy to help Valencia achieve that goal.

Valencia College achieved the Tree Campus USA designation by meeting the required five core standards for sustainable campus forestry: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

Valencia is the only two-year college to receive a tree-planting grant this year – and it’s just the second community college to receive the grant since the Tree Campus program began in 2008. The other colleges receiving grants this year are Purdue University, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and University of Illinois, Chicago.

The tree-planting is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in conjunction with the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, with support from Toyota.

During 2011, the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota helped campuses throughout the country plant 30,000 trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities have invested more than $22 million in campus forest management. More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

Valencia’s West Campus is located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando.

scholarship recipient thank you letter

Thank you for selecting me as the recipient of the Ella B. Sadler Scholarship. I am truly appreciative of the opportunity that this will give me.

I am currently a sophomore in the honors program at Valencia College and am working toward my associate degree in general studies. I hope to graduate in the Fall of 2012 and transfer into the political science program at the University of Central Florida. My goal after that is to attend and graduate law school.

As a single parent of four, I am currently working full-time, while attending Valencia as a full-time student. At 38, I am the first in my family to attend college and it brings me great joy to be a positive role model for my children. I am truly grateful for the financial assistance you have provided, as it is not always easy to manage family, school and work. This scholarship will help pay for educational expenses, and give me some financial freedom that will enable me to concentrate more on my studies.

Thank you again for your generosity and support. This gift was a wonderful present to me, and I promise that I will continue to work hard to achieve my goals in the future.

Sincerely,

Yolande McKay

words of appreciation from faculty member

Valencia College professor James May was recently recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year and is the 2011/2012 University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology recipient.

In the note below Dr. May shares his gratitude to the Endowed Chair program, provides a ‘taste of technology’ and explains the advancements this program has provided for Valencia students.

Every year I like to do a little something to thank the Valencia Foundation and an organization who sponsors Valencia’s endowed chair program. This year my gratitude is extended to the University Club of Orlando. The video below is just a small sample of what I am working on this year thanks to the University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology.

Through this endowed chair I have been able to purchase supplies and learn more about how to use green screening technologies to develop authentic, open source content for students. For example, this year while in Washington for a conference, I visited the National Archive and learned about a letter written in broken English to the then president of the United States by a young Fidel Castro.

In the letter, Fidel requests a “10 dollars bill U.S.” from the president.  This letter is now a combination Grammar & Writing assignment for students, infused with history and much more, and thanks to the green screen technology I can introduce these grammar and history concepts from the steps of the National Archive.

Using technology from a previous endowed chair, I am able to make videos and close caption them (please note that during the first 5 seconds of the video below, that you can chose to switch to a captioned version by clicking on the link inside the interactive YouTube video).

Later this semester, I will also have the ability to add a picture in picture American Sign Language interpreter to the lesson so that I can better reach another population of students. In fact, a large part of this endowed chair work for the rest of the year deals with working to make content more ADA compliant.

Long story short, I want to say thank you. Endowed chairs really make a difference in the work I can do for my students.

students support from brazilian film festival

Brazilian Film Festival Student Volunteers

This past February Valencia College was taken on a brief adventure to Brazil during the 5th Annual Brazilian Film Festival. Over the course of eight days students, faculty, and members of the community enjoyed 5 films picked by Professor Richard Sansone along with renowned Brazilian filmmakers Elisa Tolomelli and Malu de Martino. In addition to these films attendees also partook in Brazilian sweets, listened to traditional Brazilian music, and even purchased commemorative t-shirts to help raise funds for a student trip to Brazil. This event was made possible through the support of Valencia’s Student Development Office and through a partnership with the Central Florida Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce.

In 2008 Sansone was inspired by his students to help spread Brazilian heritage and traditions to the Valencia community. When asked why he thinks this festival is a valuable experience for students and employees, Sansone stated, “It is my hope that the viewers will take away a broader and richer understanding of the Brazilian reality, and that it may inspire them to return to see more films, to study Portuguese, and to better understand marvelous Brazil.”

Professor Sansone believes that learning about a people’s culture goes hand-in-hand with learning their language. To help students gain a better understanding of both, he leads study abroad trips to Brazil and also organizes the annual Valencia Brazilian Film Festival. Currently, Sansone is working on creating a more immersive study abroad experience for Valencia students, where they’ll be able to attend a Brazilian university and live with local families during their stay.

Through the efforts of Sansone and student volunteers, they were able to raise $270 towards a scholarship for student travel to Brazil which will give students the opportunity to truly learn more about the Brazilian language and culture and experience all that Brazil has to offer.

5K: family of first responders encourage participants

Dear Officers, Deputies, Firefighters, Family & Friends,

Throughout the years, we have lost many Law Enforcement Officers, Deputies, and Firefighters both in the line of duty and after their service. While many of these Officers, Deputies, and Firefighters have not been acknowledged we would like to recognize these fallen heroes in the Valencia College Annual, Run Walk and Roll 5K. Not only have they protected the citizens and streets of our communities, some may have also given their lives.

This year, we would like to honor and recognize Charles “Charlie” Edwards of Orlando Police Department, ILona Edwards of Orlando Police Department, Brandon Coates of Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Michael Callin of Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Christine “Tina” Collyer Firefighter of Orlando Fire Department.

The family, friends, Brothers and Sisters of Law Enforcement would be honored to have you, as well as your family and friends, to participate in honoring these fallen heroes. The race will kick off March 31st at 6 p.m. at Valencia College West Campus! Please see Valencia 5K flyer regarding race registration, background about the fallen heroes, and race flyers. We ask of you to please print out the Valencia 5K flyer and post them around your department to help increase participation in honoring our Officers, Deputies, and Firefighters.

If you can participate, please sign up and spread the word. All of this year’s funds from Valencia’s 5K go to public safety scholarships at the college.

If you have Law Enforcement, fire and EMT contacts, please pass this on to them. We hope to have record participation this year. Also, please send throughout the department and agency for I do not have everyone’s email addresses.

Registration for the Valencia 5K is on the following web site:

http://valenciacollege.edu/alumni/

The registration for the 5K is on the right side of this site. Hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Emily Edwards

valencia spring break this week

The college and foundation offices are closed this week for spring break. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy week and we will be back soon!

valencia brain bowl takes second and third in the nation

The college will be closed the week of March 5 for spring break.

Before we head out, the foundation would like to give big congratulations to the Valencia Brain Bowl teams! These teams took second and third place at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Community College Championship Tournament (NAQT CCCT). Both teams now get to move on to the NAQT Intercollegiate Tournament in Chicago, where they will play against university teams.

Valencia Red Team: Virginia Ruiz, Kaitlyn Johnston, Jihye Shin, CJ Brown

Valencia Black Team: Julio Gonzalez-Zuluaga, Brady Harris, Levar Burton, Brian Cofer, Rynaldo Deshauters

Job well done to both teams and good luck in Chicago!