Florida Gulf Coast University and Dunk City is Sustainable
July 31, 2014
Go to school. Listen to your teachers. Do your homework. How many times a day do parents say these phrases? Most children can’t understand the future value in an education. As a kid you care about having fun during summer vacations and weekend adventures. Studying for a test or learning Algebra is not top of the to-do list. Parents and teachers work so hard on trying to make learning fun and engaging. They try to find that one thing that will peak a child’s interest into their own future in order to answer the age old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Elementary school, middle school, and high school are the required education levels. College is the something that comes next. College is where most children become young adults. College is where one can finally find an answer to the question. Living in Florida there are so many great options for higher education. Even here in our own community there are community colleges, tech schools, and a major university.
Since 1997, Florida Gulf Coast University has become a big player in higher education. “Dunk City” is officially on the map!
FGCU is truly a college created by the community. Local citizens of Southwest Florida brought the initial request to develop a state university to their elected officials and were quickly supported. In May 1991, Governor Lawton Chiles authorized the legislation bringing the land development of FGCU to life. “Southwest Florida’s support for a university was never more evident than during the next year, when private landowners offered more than 20 gift sites for the university campus.” Now Alico and Ben Hill Griffin are well known and developed locations. Just over 20 years ago the communities, state of the art shopping centers, arenas, restaurants, and parks were nowhere to be found. What is now the bustling Gulf Coast Town Center once was, a cow pasture. The economic growth in Southwest Florida can be partially accredited to our very own “Dunk City”.
When the community decided to embark on building the university one of the main concerns was to make FGCU as ecologically friendly as possible. Currently FGCU is the 5th greenest campus in the US. The coursework and service learning requirements help get students involved in the community. “Integral to the University’s philosophy is instilling in students an environmental consciousness that balances their economic and social aspirations with the imperative for ecological sustainability.”
FGCU’s civil engineers have completed construction on a 15-acre solar field right on campus. With their sustainable engineering design, these solar panels can be seen from the road or many planes landing each day at Fort Myers International Airport. “The University’s total reliance on Florida Power & Light Co. is reduced by 18 percent, thanks to the power generated by rows of solar panels that tilt and rotate as they “follow” the sun throughout the day.” FGCU is focused on creating sustainable graduates. These are students who learn and grow, but also develop deep community roots. Giving back and helping your neighbor are concepts that FGCU helps to instill in these bright young minds of our future.
Our community is booming; construction is growing; companies are relocating; the economy is increasing. Florida Gulf Coast University has helped to make Southwest Florida a destination. The academics are top notch, the professors are involved and effective, but most of all the students make our community a better place to live. FGCU has become an integral part of Southwest Florida helping young adults answer the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”