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KENNESAW, GA.—The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved the naming of the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University. Michael Leven, a veteran hospitality industry executive and President and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, made a commitment of $5 million to name Kennesaw State University’s School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality. The gift represents the largest single contribution from an individual in the University’s 52-year history. In addition to naming the School, Leven’s philanthropic gift will be used to support an endowed faculty chair as well as scholarships for culinary sustainability and hospitality students. University officials are planning a mid-May naming ceremony to recognize Leven and his generosity to the program. “We are deeply appreciative and honored to receive this substantial gift from Mr. Leven, whose generosity extends well beyond his financial investment in the future of this program,” said Daniel S. Papp, President of Kennesaw State University.
MCLEAN, VA.—Partnering with Clean the World, Hilton Worldwide has reaffirmed its global commitment to the recycling and redistribution of used soap and hygiene products to millions of people around the world. With more than 850 hotels currently participating in soap and amenity recycling, Hilton Worldwide properties have donated nearly 600,000 pounds of soap, which have been converted into more than one million new bars to help prevent hygiene-related deaths and illness.
NATIONAL REPORT—Two years after the final standard of the nine APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meetings Standards—the one focusing on accommodations—was published, and more than three years after the first eight standards were released, adoption of the standards has been mixed. At press time, just one accommodation—the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.—had achieved certification to standard E2772, the Specification for Evaluation and Selection of Accommodations for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences. The resort also achieved certification to the ASTM Standard pertaining to the Evaluation and Selection of Venues for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences (E2774). Three of the standards have yet to see a certification—ones pertaining to exhibits, transportation and on-site offices. According to the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), which publishes a registry of suppliers that have achieved APEX/ASTM third party certification, about 30 organizations have achieved or will soon achieve some level of certification. The majority of those—at least 13—have been certified to E2774.
CHICAGO—The Langham, Chicago announced that it has achieved the LEED Gold level of certification. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Assn. (AH&LA) announced the winners of the AH&LA Stars of the Industry Awards for outstanding hotel properties. Awarded annually since 1966, these awards distinguish individual hotels that have developed outstanding programs, events, and campaigns. Winners were chosen in the categories of Community Service, Special Events, Guest Relations, and Good Earthkeeping. In the Good Earthkeeping category, the small property award winner is the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, N.Y. In the large property category the winner is the Lake Lawn Resort & Spa in Delavan, Wis. “These properties represent the best of the hotel industry,” said Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Assn. “From unforgettable guest experiences to being good stewards of the environment to serving as a refuge in the midst of a national crisis, our hotels enrich tourists’ experience and serve our local communities. The men and women who work in these very special properties should be recognized for their outstanding leadership and success.”
LAS VEGAS—MGM Resorts International was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its outstanding efforts in food recovery. The entertainment and hospitality company received two national Food Recovery Challenge awards for reducing food waste and, in the process, conserving natural resources.
SACRAMENTO, CALIF.—Due to the severity of California’s drought, the state’s experts have been managing water resources to deal with the effects of the drought and prepare for the next one. As part of the solution, the California Energy Commission approved standards for water appliances which will save more than 10 billion gallons of water in the first year. Over time, the water savings is estimated to reach 105 billion gallons per year—a savings of more than three times the annual amount of water used by the City of San Francisco. “California is serious about water conservation and is committed to consistent and clear water efficiency policies,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the Energy Commission’s lead on energy efficiency. “In the face of California’s current drought, we must use water as efficiently as possible and updating minimum standards for toilets, urinals and faucets is a step in that direction.” The energy efficiency and water standards approved require water appliances to consume less water thereby using less energy while performing the same function.
SAN FRANCISCO—The Yosemite landscape is preparing to welcome a vibrant addition to the popular region. Rush Creek Lodge, a fresh take on the Yosemite experience, is slated to open at the doorstep of Yosemite National Park, Calif., in spring 2016. The contemporary mountain resort is the first resort to open in the park’s vicinity in more than 25 years, offering Yosemite explorers a new lodging option with 143 rooms, as well as amenities for travelers, such as a dining destination to enjoy California lodge cuisine, a general store for provisions on the way to the park and a full service guided recreation program.
NEW YORK—W Hotels Worldwide, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., announced a new partnership with global music artist and entrepreneur will.i.am and The Coca-Cola Co. to shake up the hotel industry, one guestroom at a time. Together, they are bringing the EKOCYCLE brand to W Hotel rooms around the world, changing sheets and changing minds. W Hotels will soon begin re-making their beds with new EKOCYCLE branded sheets, which are made in part with rPET (polyester partially made using recycled plastic). Rolling out into W Hotels in North America first with global properties to follow, each king size sheet set utilizes approximately 31 recycled 20 oz. plastic bottles—which equates to more than 268,000 plastic bottles across all W Hotel beds in North America. The result is bedding that is as luxurious as it is environmentally conscious, ensuring that guests continue to have the same comfortable sleep they have come to expect from a night in a W Hotel bed. The more sustainable sheets are made using the same high quality process as the W brand’s current bedding.
BURBANK, CALIF.—Disney published its 2014 Citizenship Performance Summary. The summary focuses on Disney’s FY14 performance against its Citizenship targets. Highlights include progress against environmental stewardship commitments, including a 31 percent decrease in net emissions from 2012 levels and the first disclosure of Disney’s water usage companywide.
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