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April 21, 2009 - GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (April 21, 2009) - Throughout the nation, Earth Day 2009 will shine a light on the need for all of us to be better stewards of the environment. In Grand Rapids, two organizations committed to environmental sustainability will unite to kick off a new partnership that will result in the building of a LEED-certified home using insulation made out of recycled blue jeans.

Aquinas College and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County have joined forces in the hopes of building a Habitat home in the fall of 2009, and what better way to build momentum for their efforts than with a kick off blue jean drive. After all, jeans are the "unofficial" uniform of college students, and as students pack for summer break, why not leave a few pairs of jeans behind?

The jeans will be collected throughout Aquinas campus from Wednesday, April 22 through Friday, May 8, 2009. Collected jeans will be donated to "COTTON: FROM BLUE TO GREEN," and recycled into UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation. The drive is part of a nationwide effort to help build Habitat homes for families, keep jeans out of landfills, and set a Guiness World Record. The drive is being promoted by National Geographic Kids and coordinated by Bonded Logic. Grand Rapids-based Cotton Insulation Inc., a subsidiary of L&D Adhesives, will donate the recycled insulation for the Aquinas/Habitat home. Bob Joslin, co-founder of L&D Adhesives, is a 1969 Aquinas graduate, as is his daughter Tiera ('07), who works for Cotton Insulation Inc.

Greg McAleenan, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, notes Aquinas College is thrilled to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. "Aquinas is deeply committed to environmental stewardship through our longstanding relationship with Peter Wege and the Wege Foundation, and our Center for Sustainability. We also place great emphasis on social equity and community service, and what better way to put this commitment into action than through a partnership with Habitat."

In 2004, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County leaders attended a sustainability workshop at Aquinas College, which laid the groundwork for the Kent County affiliate to build the nation's first LEED-certified affordable home in 2006, as awarded by the United States Green Building Council. In 2007, Habitat Kent committed to building all LEED certified homes, becoming one of only two affiliates out of 1700 nationwide to do so and have built 35 to date.

Pam Doty-Nation, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, attributes the affiliate's commitment to LEED building to the support and guidance of the Wege Foundation. “Without Peter Wege and the Foundation behind us, we could not have built the nation's first LEED-certified affordable home through our partnership with Grand Rapids Community College Leslie Tassel M-TEC program."