Andrew Ray: a visit to China

Andrew Ray, traveling to make life better at home. 1m3a0100-%281024x683%29-2

Andrew Ray took his Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Programs and went on walk-about this summer. He took two students and combined them with a business program to China in July, to take a look at how China is exploring renewable energy.

Originally, they were going to Germany, but that became an impossibility, so instead of calling it quits, Ray changed his plans, and took his students to China, where just a few years previously, the Chinese—known for renewable energy in the runup to the Beijing Olympics—had blossomed with solar.

In the lead-up to the Beijing trip, they started with a trip to the UCF campus in Cocoa to look at renewable energy.

Once in China, they looked at solar, thermal, and some wind. They looked at wind energy being produced in the Gobi Desert, as well as work being done in Beijing and Shanghai. They also attended lectures at Polytechnic of Shanghai. They also discovered that the air quality is worse in Beijing (despite the cleanliness of the air at the Beijing Olympics!)

China is leading the world in manufacturing solar panels and ranks second in solar energy production, and are by far the leader in wind power. They have also been leading the movement to robotic construction technologies, and 3D printing of buildings. Despite this, they also have a leading role in pollution—a problem still to be solved!


Andrew Ray, program chair AS built environment programs

1M3A0100 %281024x683%29 (2)Professor Ray is using the Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Program for study abroad scholarships.

The Hubbard Construction Chair supports educational programs in building construction, drafting and design, land surveying, and other technology areas. These funds will provide scholarships to allow students in the above programs to participate in a study abroad trip to visit renewable energy facilities in China during summer, 2016. Professor Ray also plan to escort students to Germany/Switzerland in 2016, but the opportunity arose to join Jennifer Robertson’s business students on a 10 day trip to Beijing and Shanghai in July, 2016, to see renewable energy production and accelerated/automated construction techniques.

 “My personal interest in sustainable energy production, including solar, wind and geo-thermal power, spans almost 40 years; the thesis for my Master of Architecture involved creating software and graphics to analyze energy usage in historic buildings.”

The sabbatical Professor Ray completed during fall semester, 2015, included visits to all cities along the path of the proposed trip that Professor Deymond Hoyte and he plan to lead in summer, 2017. “This ‘dry-run’ allowed me to research each site, obtain tourist maps and be able to provide background information to students before and during the study abroad trip.”

The sabbatical itinerary through 29 countries also included visits to a solar plant east of Berlin, geothermal springs and sustainable indoor greenhouses in Iceland, as well as many stops to document various solar and wind power facilities wherever accessible.

Pre-trip meetings with students will focus on popular forms of renewable energy (photovoltaic and thermal solar, wind, geo-thermal, and biofuels), the sociopolitical support of renewables by some governments within the European Union and China, with background on the specific sites they will visit. This will also include an introduction to the culture and people of China for the 2016 trip, and Germany and Switzerland for 2017, and basic language phrases. Since the trip will include students in Built Environment programs and also students taking business courses at Valencia, the cross-discipline approach should foster unique perspectives and discussions. Assessments will include journals and reflection papers on the projects visited and insight gained from the cultural experience.

Study abroad experiences are life-changing for students, opening them to global perspectives, and providing insight into alternate solutions to systemic issues. Most students in the Built Environment program have previously undertaken research on issues related to sustainability, completing an oral presentation on a “green” topic to their classmates. Report topics include the alternate power generation methods and current construction practices featured on this trip, but also include garden roofs; this is the major amenity of an apartment building they will visit in Darmstadt with the students. In addition, students will be exposed to state-of-the-art technologies used in China and Europe, as well as traditional construction techniques predating anything built in the USA.

Professor Ray has been involved in the Central Florida design and construction community for many years. After graduating with a Master’s in Architecture from Texas A&M, he moved to Fort Myers, FL, and was involved with historic preservation and commercial projects while completing his internship. Upon becoming a registered architect, he moved his family to Orlando in 1990, founded Array Design and started teaching at Valencia in 1991. A past president of the local chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, and former Construction Manager with Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Ray enjoys travel and learning about construction. His wife, Alison, is also an architect, and they have two sons, Alex and Tony.


votes for valencia

2014CLAs-380Valencia needs your votes! The college is a part of Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Awards. Valencia made it to finals and has submitted a short video highlighting climate innovations on campus.

To vote, visit:, scroll down to find Valencia and click the thumbs up button.

Voting is open until April 15.

arbor day event on east campus

Valencia College has received the Tree Campus USA designation from National Arbor Day Foundation for the 2nd year. You are invited to celebrate with a planting event on Feb 19, 2013.

treecampususaCollege students, faculty, staff and community friends are invited to celebrate with other Valencia supporters at the Arbor Day event on East Campus, Building 4.

The event will take place on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 12 p.m. on Valencia’s East Campus, in front of and behind building 4 (library) and will include information tables, music and a tree planting at 1:00 p.m. behind the library.

The Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes excellence in campus tree management, as well as student and community involvement across the nation.

The five standards required to obtain the Tree Campus USA designation include: campus tree advisory committee, tree care plan, a program with dedicated annual expenditures, Arbor Day observance and service learning projects.

the herb society of central florida scholarship opportunity for valencia culinary students

The Herb Society of Central Florida was founded in 1992 by a small group of Central Florida residents who met regularly to exchange information and share their passion for herbs. In addition to expanding their personal knowledge of herbs, they are dedicated to educating the public concerning the many aspects of growing and enjoying herbs.

The Herb Society of Central Florida Scholarship is for Valencia College culinary majors. Eligible candidates are required to have the following:

  • Program of Study: Culinary Arts
  • FAFSA Established Date > Saturday, January 01, 2011
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Complete the 2012-13 Fall/Spring Valencia College Foundation Scholarship Application

In order to apply for this scholarship, please visit and complete the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship application today!

just the facts

Here is a look inside the newly released Valencia College Just the Facts 2012-2013.


  • Has an economic impact on the region that is over $1 billion a year.
  • Was named the best community college in the nation as the winner of the 2012 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
  • Has saved $3.8 million in energy costs over the last three years through a new sustainability initiative.
  • Became a smoke-free college in Aug. 2012.

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

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

valencia announces new initiatives at academic assembly

What’s up for the coming year at Valencia?

Administrators are urging faculty to find ways to cut textbook costs for students, the college will urge faculty and staff to adopt energy-saving habits, and the college will go smoke-free on all its campuses by 2012.

Those new initiatives — along with the addition of 31 new full-time tenure-track positions – were announced by Valencia President Dr. Sanford Shugart at Valencia’s annual Academic Assembly. In addition, Shugart said he will begin holding regular online conversations with 36 Valencia students who’ve been handpicked to provide the president with input on the college experience. 

Financially, the upcoming year will be a challenging one for Valencia College,  but one that the college can weather,  Shugart told the assembled faculty.  “So far, we’ve managed to navigate through the budget area rather well,” Shugart said, but he warned that the coming year will be tight  and it’s unlikely that the college will hire many new faculty members next year.

Because rising textbook prices are students’ highest expense after tuition, Shugart urged faculty members to work together to find solutions — whether that means collaborating to write textbooks, using textbooks that can be rented, or agreeing to use the same textbook, which would reduce the resale price of the book.   

Some faculty members are already working toward that goal. Biology Professor Robert Gessner has written his own textbook for his microbiology classes – and by using Powerpoint presentations and extensive notes that he provides to the students in lieu of a textbook, he has cut the students’ book costs for his microbiology class from $240 to about $90.

Shugart also announced the launch of a new video contest for students, with the winners receiving free tuition. The contest, which will launch on Sept. 1, invites students to submit videos about their lives and their college dreams  — why they chose Valencia, why they want to attend college, how they’ve struggled and been motivated to continue. The videos will be submitted and viewed on Valencia’s Facebook page, with students voting for their favorites via Facebook. A team of judges will select five winners from the top 10 vote-getters — and on Nov. 15, five winners will be named. Each will receive free tuition for the remainder of their Valencia careers — up to 60 credit hours.

Among the other changes that Valencia students, faculty and staff will see in the coming year:

  • The college is continuing its push to go green. By Earth Day 2011, the college had recycled 1 million pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic and metal. Changes already undertaken in the college’s air conditioning systems are saving $900,000 a year and an estimated 1 million gallons of water a year.  Next, the college is asking students, faculty and staff to start changing their behavior. ”We think there’s another million dollars to be saved, but it will be through behavioral change, the little habits that we can change,” Shugart said. 
  • Valencia is launching its new James M. & Dayle L. Seneff Honors College and expanding the honors program on all campuses.
  • Inspired by the popular TEDTalks videos available online, Valencia will create a series of 4-minute videos that tell the stories about the work that individual professors are doing.
  • Although this is the final year of a three-year, $743,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the college’s Developmental Education Initiative will continue to research the best ways to provide remedial education and support for students who aren’t ready to tackle college coursework. The goal is to increase the number of students who graduate from college — particularly those who come from low-income homes. 
  • Valencia continues to expand – adding a new campus at Lake Nona, a new building at the Osceola campus and a new building on the West Campus, which will house Valencia’s continuing education division.  Valencia is also exploring new sites in Apopka and Poinciana, as well as a potential location at Horizon West in west Orange County.
  • The college will decentralize some of its academic operations, giving campus presidents more authority to innovate.  “Our capacity to innovate is being limited by our size,” Shugart said. “The people who’ve been trying to nourish innovation are finding it immensely difficult to coordinate with 19 deans.”

Source: Marketing & Strategic Communications


valencia celebrates earth day with farmer’s markets, vegan food, music

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, but Valencia Community College is getting a jump on things by scheduling activities at various campuses earlier in the week.

The lineup:

Osceola Campus has scheduled activities from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, mostly in the area of Building 2. They include an “eco-adventure” speaker in the auditorium whose topic is “Around the World in 90 Minutes.” The main event begins at noon outside Building 2. Participants can decorate clay pots and then plant seeds in them and also make personalized bumper stickers. Organic chai tea will be offered.

West Campus has scheduled activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, in the Student Services Building patio. Among them: a plant and bird house sale by the Office of Sustainability; a farmer’s market, shredder truck, resource fair and other attractions by Peer Counselors; plant seeds and shirts and organic chai tea from Valencia Volunteers; a vegan barbecue by Phi Theta Kappa; and a performance by singer Jason Levassuer at 1 p.m.

East Campus has schedule activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, in the mall area. Among them: 20-minute yoga sessions starting at 1:10 p.m.; a T-shirt giveaway; decorate a clay pot and choose from 150 native plants and herbs to put in it; and a performance by the Commercial Music Ensemble.

Winter Park Campus got the earliest start of all, celebrating on April 7 with a farmer’s market, a T-shirt giveaway and a salad/wrap bar.

For information about the history of Earth Day and how it is marked around the world, visit the Earth Day Network at

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

recyclemania results announced

Final placing results in the national recycling competition, RecycleMania, have been announced and Valencia is proud to share that we placed 4th in the waste minimization category! Over 600 colleges and universities participated in this year’s RecycleMania and over 84 million pounds of material was recycled or composted during the 10-week competition.

Thank you to all who made a commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle – and let’s keep up the good work!

The RecycleMania competition is a program of the RecycleMania Steering Committee in coordination with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). Program management for RecycleMania is provided by Keep America Beautiful in coordination with the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise program. RecycleMania is made possible through the sponsorship support of The Coca-Cola Company, American Forest & Paper Association and Keep America Beautiful.

RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The contest has expanded rapidly in nine years’ time from two schools in 2001 to 607 colleges and universities in 2010 spanning 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Over a 10-week period, campuses compete to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. For complete competition background and details, visit the RecycleMania website at

Source: Valencia Community College,

earth day – april 22

April 22 will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day! This is an annual event that is celebrated around the world as the greenest of holidays.

In conjunction with the college’s focus on sustainability, Valencia will be hosting a trade fair/supplier exhibit with green suppliers. See what the college and other businesses are doing to support environmentally preferred products and services which have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment. See what you can do to help support this issue.

This one day event will be located on our West Campus on Thursday, April 22 along the breezeway of SSB from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and open to faculty, staff and students.

Participating vendors will include Orange County Environmental Protection Division, OCI Associates, Bungo Box, Siemens, STORR Office Environments, Steelcase, Office Depot, Herman Miller, MarkMaster, PPI Construction Management, Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, American Ad Specialties, Peninsular Paper Company, Progress Energy and Valencia Sustainability Committee.

Source: The Bulletin, Valencia Community College, Vol. XXXIX, No. 13, April 12, 2010

recyclemania is here!!!

The college shared the following information with faculty and staff this morning and so I thought I’d pass the information along to you!!!

We are pleased to announce that the college has entered the national recycling challenge, RecycleMania.  The goal is to increase recycling awareness in higher education institutions throughout the United States. Over 550 colleges and universities will participate in the event to be held January 17, 2010 thru March 27, 2010. 

 Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate by placing the following recyclables in the designated bins on each campus:

  • #1 and #2 Plastic Containers
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Paper Products
  • Newspapers
  • Computer Paper
  • Books (paperback only)
  • Magazines
  • Cardboard (flattened and placed beside recycle container)

Recyclables can also be brought from home. Simply separate the materials in plastic bags and place the recyclables by any recycling container on your campus or by putting them in the large recycle dumpsters located in the following areas:

East Campus  – Behind Building 5, by loading dock.
West Campus – Behind Mod. 2, by the loading dock.
Osceola Campus – Behind the Security portable next to the Waste Management dumpsters

For more information concerning the RecycleMania campaign, go to

While the college continues to do all they can in the “green” movement, we hope you’ll start your very own version of recyclemania. Even just one person can make a dramatic impact.

new chiller plant brings valencia one step closer to sustainability

In charge of maintaining and operating the new chiller plant are (left to right): Clifton Taylor, John Letterman, Winsome Bennett (Valencia’s energy conservation manager), Robert Hickman, Lawrence Wainwright and Jim Nelson.

Valencia and Siemens officials gathered last week for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new environmentally friendly central chiller plant on Valencia’s campus in west Orlando.

 Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. installed the high-efficiency chillers, which are designed to supply all the cooling needs for the campus’s 14 buildings using chilled water. The new system will result in over $400,000 in energy savings a year or a 30% reduction in utility costs for the college. A similar chiller plant will soon be up and running on the college’s East Campus, further reducing costs by a combined $1 million per year.

 “Since 1998 we have been working on energy conservation projects touching lighting, water and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems within the buildings,” said Robert Hickman, who serves as the HVAC energy manager for the campus. “With this new plant, not only did we exceed our energy conservation goals, we were able to overcome insufficient cooling capacity and drastically reduce repair costs.”

 Besides the addition of the new chiller plants, the college has sought to reduce its overall impact on the environment by committing to building only LEED-certified facilities as designated by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design through the U.S. Green Building Council. So far, three Valencia buildings either have qualified for LEED gold certification or are awaiting certification.

 Valencia President Sanford Shugart has also signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. To date, 657 colleges and universities have pledged to reduce their campus greenhouse gas emissions over time.

Source: Marketing and Media Relations, Valencia Community College, 407-582-1015

green issues update


Valencia Recycles

 To date, Valencia has reduced its carbon footprint by:

  • Saving 2,805 trees.
  • Saving 62,7000 gallons of oil.
  • Saving 492 cubic yards landfill space.
  • Saving 660,000 kilowatts of energy.
  • Saving 1,155,000 gallons of water.

The recycling program was introduced in phases to ensure its success. Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper/cardboard converts to a savings of approximately 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. The 17 trees (per ton of recycled paper) absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Burning that same ton of paper creates 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Phase One of Valencia’s recycling program started in February, 2007 and concentrated on the collection of mixed paper in cluster offices and student labs on the East, West, and Winter Park campuses. This phase removed over 43 tons of mixed paper from the college waste stream and produced a savings of $3,500.

Phase Two began in October, 2008. This phase introduced the collection of cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles along with mixed paper on all campuses. Recycling containers have been distributed to all common areas on each campus for collection. Containers are clearly color coded and marked “Valencia Recycles.”


going for gold

special eventValencia’s new special events center going for gold!

This week, Orlando Sentinel highlights Valencia’s work on current and upcoming LEED gold buildings.
Florida trails the nation in environmentally friendly architecture —

Excerpt:   The cost of going for gold adds about 2.5 percent to the cost of construction, according to officials at Valencia, which soon stands to have three gold certifications in its portfolio. The new special-events center on the school’s west Orlando campus is now vying for gold LEED, with such features as toilets that use filtered rainwater collected in an underground cistern. Designed by Orlando’s Hunton Brady Architects, the showcase building — which also holds the school’s culinary-arts program — optimizes its use of daylight and its views of Lake Pamela while minimizing the effects of direct sunlight. Reflective roofing materials and crushed limestone walkways help ward off the heat.

“It’s all about return on investment,” said Valencia President Sanford C. Shugart. “For public buildings, we’ve been in a period in the last two or three years when both capital and operating resources have been scarce, but it’s usually a good strategy to spend more on capital to save on operating.”

In addition to saving on power and water bills, the structures have carpet and paint intended to decrease allergens and, possibly, health-care costs. Paying extra to go for gold is “kind of a gamble” in terms of monetary pay backs because of uncertainties in the oil markets, Shugart said. But, he added, working toward top-level certifications also says something about how a company perceives its role in the larger community.

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and the green movement continues …

Valencia’s Green Cleaning Initiative
Beginning in 2008, the custodial department began looking into ways of creating a healthier environment for our students, staff and faculty at Valencia. Several different ways were investigated to achieve this goal: (1) The methods currently being used to clean, and (2) the cleaning chemicals being used. Questions like, “What kind or brands of green certified chemicals could help us maintain a clean environment?” or “How do we change our work methods to ensure the health of our customers?” were considered. Through hard work and numerous consultations, the custodial services supervisors, coupled with support from procurement, have upgraded to what is now Valencia’s Green Cleaning Initiative. With close consideration and testing of products, the chemicals now in use are safe and environmentally responsible. So far, the custodial department has converted 80 percent of its cleaning products to those that are environmentally safe, and plans to increase that number.

(Reprinted from Changing Our WaysSummer/Fall 2009 VITAE Magazine)

Way to go Valencia!!!

green savings

The inception of Valencia’s recycling program, which began in February 2007, included only the collection of mixed paper. Since that time there has been a remarkable and steady reduction of our carbon footprint.

Recycle bins at Valencia's downtown center

Recycle bins at Valencia's downtown center

In October 2008, the program expanded to include mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Valencia receives a per-pound rebate from collected recyclables from the college’s recycling company. So far, more than 43 tons of recyclables have been processed, which converts to a savings of $3,529.50 to the college.

Bottom Line: Each ton (2,000 pounds) of recycled paper/cardboard converts to a savings of approximately 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water.

(Reprinted from Valencia Recycling Facts and StatisticsSummer/Fall 2009 VITAE Magazine)

Go Valencia!