What’s the latest way to make your graduation diploma stand out? Make it green!

The Green Diploma is a graduation distinction awarded to North Lake College students who successfully complete 15 or more credit hours of “green” coursework. Classes are considered “green” if the curriculum includes assignments and teaching methodology focused on sustainability—in the environment, the economy or society at large.

NLC professors who teach green courses pledge to go paperless, posting all readings and assignments online. Not only does this practice save student’s backs from over-stuffed book bags, but it also reduces environmental impact.

Green courses are offered in a variety of programs. To view the complete green catalog visit

Sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Celebrating Sustainability

Hosted by the department of Student Life, Earth Day at North Lake College is an annual tradition that brings students, faculty and staff together in the great outdoors. From eco-friendly shopping to hot dogs baked in solar ovens, NLC Earth Day includes a wide range of fun activities and food. Demonstrations by local nonprofit groups like Keep Irving Beautiful share the latest methods of protecting the environment and “going green.”


In the 10 weeks leading up to Earth Day students show their green by competing in RecycleMania. A friendly competition between colleges and universities nationwide, RecycleMania isn’t all about recycling. In fact, schools compete in a variety of categories, including Waste Minimization.

North Lake College is a four time national champion in the Waste Minimization category. This part of the competition uses regular waste weigh-ins to track everything that gets thrown away, even in the recycling bin. The college with the least amount of waste wins.

In the 2013 RecycleMania competition, NLC finished second of 164 schools nationwide. Students generated an average of 2.15 pounds of trash each week.

Greening the Campus

Toxic waste, pollution, deforestation, global climate change, habitat loss…our planet’s list of environmental crises continues to escalate. Rather than simply changing the channel, students at North Lake College have decided to work together to develop earth-healthy habits. They call themselves the G.R.E.E.N. club, or the Grass Roots Environmental Education Network.

Like a good workout partner, G.R.E.E.N. club members encourage one another (and the community) to practice sustainable living. Club events such as Garbology 101 cultivate an awareness of environmental stewardship on campus and develop skills for sustainable living. G.R.E.E.N. club members also explore career trends in environmental fields, campaign against littering and volunteer for community cleanup events.

Sustainable Blazers

Also passionate about green living is the Sustainable Blazers committee. Comprised of NLC faculty and staff, Sustainable Blazers work together to incorporate sustainability across the curriculum. In fact, one such effort led to the creation of North Lake’s new green diploma. Additional campus committees and organizations work to create a renewable campus, such as the Green Team and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.