Shane Donnelly was passionate about getting young people excited about tackling environmental issues. So passionate, in fact, that the general manager of Ecoverse arranged to meet with Keith Bailey, director of the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District, and his team one day in late 2012. Ecoverse is an Avon-based supplier of machinery and services to the recycling, remediation and environmental industries
“He gave examples of his own kids, how he got them interested in being environmentally friendly, being green, conservation and all these things,” recalls Brandi Schnell, the district’s community outreach coordinator. “Since I was already going into the schools and talking to students about reducing, reusing and recycling, he thought we would be the best people to make that happen.” 
The result of the conversations that followed is the Lorain County Be Green Scholarship, established in conjunction with Lorain County Solid Waste Management District, a department of the Lorain County Board of Commissioners, Ecoverse and the Lorain County Community College Foundation. The annual scholarship of at least $500 is awarded to a Lorain County resident enrolled at Lorain County Community College who demonstrates a keen interest in environmental issues and participates in a related activity — for example, recycling and composting at home or routinely cleaning up outdoor areas, perhaps as a member of a community service group.
Lorain County commissioners and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency — the body that OKs the plan under which the district operates — have approved the district’s request to endow the Lorain County Be Green Scholarship with $25,000 to be received over the next four years. Debra Richter, LCCC Foundation scholarship and stewardship officer, explains that it takes three full fiscal years after an endowment is established for the monies to be invested and yield a scholarship. But a $3,500 gift from Ecoverse allowed the school to award its first scholarship this year.
In a press release Donnelly says the scholarship “will not only translate into more environmentally conscious behavior but will also hopefully open the eyes of the students in our county to the business opportunities that will arise as a result of changes in behavior and regulation.” Schnell says that awareness of the ever-increasing green careers open to students will be promoted in Lorain County high-school guidance counselors’ offices, where information about the scholarship is available. Bailey notes that companies are turning garbage into plastics and using microbes to speed the composting process, while Schnell points out that almost every organization has a sustainability coordinator or director.
“Those are careers that just even 10, 15 years ago were not something that anybody would have thought of,” she says.
Richter says potential applicants include high-school students already taking classes at LCCC and students taking other universities’ and colleges’ courses on the LCCC campus as part of the University Partnership program as well as the more traditional LCCC student working on a two-year degree.
“What’s nice about it is that it can go to the very young (or) to the older student,” she says. 

Applications for next year’s Lorain County Be Green Scholarship will be available online starting Feb. 1; they must be completed and received by May 31. For more information, log on to or call the college’s financial aid office at 440-366-4034.