About Us - History

Recycled glass.
Recycled glass

The roots of sustainability at Lane Community College come from our recycling initiative which was started by student government in 1978 and our Energy Management Associate of Applied Science degree which was first offered in 1982. From there, Lane hired its first full time recycling coordinator in 1999 who was tasked with saving and earning money equivalent to the job's salary through garbage savings and recycling revenue. For the next several years, the recycling program grew and became a vital and cost-saving function of the college. 

At the same time, instructors at Lane began to create new classes that infuse sustainability concepts into traditional courses and created learning communities that foster interdisciplinary learning in sustainability areas. One of Lane's first Learning Communities was "Petal, Pen, Peck, and Paw:  Investigations of Place," which was introduced in 1998.  Participating students all took Writing 122 along with Field Biology and Wildflowers of Oregon. The course Nature Literature was introduced in 1999. In 2000, Environmental Politics was first offered and Organic Chemistry labs went "green."

Student making biodiesel
Student making biodiesel

In 2003, the Energy Management degree program expanded and began offering a degree in Renewable Energy Technology. Also, in this year, Lane students could begin taking Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resource Economics to fulfill a social science requirement.

Lane's Sustainability Committee and Sustainability Office were created in 2004. The Sustainability Office was first comprised of the Recycling Coordinator and a Sustainability Coordinator whose position was created out of a college-wide reorganization while still reducing total positions at the college. Lane's sustainability office was housed under the Vice President for College Operations. 

In 2005, Lane hired an Energy Analyst who was tasked with developing and implementing plans to save energy, add renewable energy, and save money through conservation and use of on-site renewables. Lane also signed the Talloires Declaration in 2005, which committed the college to:

  • Increase awareness of environmentally sustainable development
  • Create an institutional culture of sustainability
  • Educate for environmentally responsible citizenship
  • Foster environmental literacy for all
  • Practice institutional ecology
  • Involve all stakeholders
  • Collaborate for interdisciplinary approaches
  • Enhance capacity of primary and secondary schools
  • Broaden service and outreach nationally and internationally
  • Maintain the movement.
Art project at Bioneers Conference where attendees used colorful clothes to make a dragonfly.
Art project at
Bioneers Conference
where attendees used
colorful clothes to
make a dragonfly

Many of the actions and activities that Lane has undertaken to fulfill our commitment to the Talloires Declaration are described throughout this website. Examples of the college's first few strategies include:

  • Instituted a revolving loan fund for energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
  • Purchase of 10% electricity as wind.
  • Hosted a Bioneers Conference conference for students, employees and community members to learn about and develop strategies to work collectively in crafting solutions to the world's environmental and bio-cultural challenges.

In 2006, Lane became one of the first signatories of the American College and University President's Climate Commitment and began developing a strategy for becoming carbon neutral. Also in 2006, Lane adopted three sustainability policies and established an educational organic garden for students.

In 2007, Lane adopted sustainability as a core value. 

Solar Station funded by a grant from EWEB and by the 2008 bond
Solar Station funded by
a grant from EWEB and
by the 2008 bond

In 2008, the Sustainability Office moved under the President's Office and Lane County voters approved an $83 million bond to renovate, upgrade and remodel workforce training and education facilities. The bond included a new recycling center, $830,000 for on-site renewable energy, and it partially funded a LEED platinum downtown campus. Lane also further developed its sustainability themed Associate of Applied Science options by beginning to offer a Water Conservation Technician degree. 

In 2009, the Sustainability Office was moved to Facilities Management and Planning and the college began offering two more sustainability themed Associate of Applied Science degrees – Resource Conservation Management and Sustainability Coordination. Lane also created a Sustainability Course of Study which is a list of courses that students may take for a transfer degree with an emphasis in sustainability.

Institute for Sustainable Practices Logo
Institute for Sustainable
Practices Logo

In 2010, Sustainability was adopted as a strategic direction for 2010-11 through 2014-15.

In 2011, Lane released its climate action plan with a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.

In 2012, the Sustainability Office and the academic programs that offer our sustainability themed Associate degrees, fused together under the auspices of the Executive Dean for Academic Affairs Career Technical and became the Institute for Sustainable Practices. The Institute is an umbrella organization under which the sustainability educational and operational groups within Lane Community College collaborate to provide the best information, services, and opportunities to our students, employees, and community.