Over the summer 2011, seven West Kentucky Community and Technical College students got the chance to learn about the culture, climate, and diverse plant and animal species of Costa Rica through the college’s Study Abroad program. Online courses that focused on culture, conservation biology, and education were developed to prepare students for the Costa Rica trip. Studies began a few weeks before the trip and concluded a few weeks following the nine-day excursion as students shared their experiences in post-trip essays.
Consistent with the KCTCS Vision to be the nation’s premier community and technical college system, KCTCS is becoming a leader in practices, educational and workforce training opportunities, and community leadership related to sustainable development or sustainability. The most commonly accepted definition of sustainable development is found in the 1987 United Nations’ Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (also known as the "Brundtland Report"): "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainability is more than “being green.” Multifaceted, sustainability touches every area of a college. Facilitating cultural change to enhance the well-being of people, sustainability includes improving efficiencies and effectiveness in a socially equitable manner. Implementing sustainable practices demonstrates responsible stewardship of social, economic, and environmental resources. KCTCS sustainability focus is on being “Green+”.