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A thrilling race to the finish marked the heated competition for ‘best video” in the Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards. The videos, submitted by colleges and universities across the nation, were two- to three-minute summaries of their respective institutions’ campus sustainability initiatives.

Online voting took place from April 1 through April 30. All visitors to the site were allowed to vote once per video every 24 hours. All votes within this guideline were counted toward the final totals. Votes that were cast outside the one-per-day guideline were disqualified from the competition.

Spurred on by dean of GCC North and head cheerleader Chuck Jeffery, the GCC community rose to the occasion, voting “early and often.”

The harrowing month-long journey was fraught with dramatic plot twists, ranging from incapacitated Web sites to the ever-present threat from larger institutional competitors. But the Gauchos pressed on, maintaining heroic focus despite the challenges.

When the dust finally cleared, the mighty Gauchos had prevailed, garnering 8,978 votes to come in second among all participants, and first in the Associate Colleges category (under the Carnegie Classification, a leading framework for identifying institutional diversity in H.S. higher education).

The only institution that achieved more votes than GCC was Missouri University of Science and Technology, which mustered 16,374 votes out of a total of 48,882 votes cast.

The finalists featured in the voting competition developed their videos after they were chosen by Second Nature board members in January. Second Nature is the support organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

The GCC video highlighted campus sustainability accomplishments. Among measurable results, GCC has reduced campus waste by 18 percent; infused sustainability in 100 classes; and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions per square foot by 20 percent by embracing over 30 energy-saving initiatives.

Polly Laubach, GCC faculty member, led the 2013 video production, along with Joe Ranus and James Veihdeffer.

Other contributors included Chuck Jeffery, Leroy Timblin, Bobby Sample and Jaime Gaeta, who played a starring role in the video as “The Green Gaucho” himself.

These start of the show received support from Daniel Abril, Styler Burgin, Heidi Capriotti, Megan Deck, Toni Diaz, Caitlin Frank, Chanda Fraulino, Marry Harris, Kahekina Havea, Pauline Havea, Tony Insana, Kelly Jasper, Tressa Jumps, Maria Laughlin, Talia Logan, Cyrus Majidy, Omar Muradvich, Loredana Netotea, Steve Owen, Dr. Robert Reavis and Kristina Strava.

A cast of several hundred, including the faithful daily voters, rounded out the production.

The winning video is now appearing on desktops across the nation. For a full showing, go to: http://youtu.be/bz5rczG_1U8.