In his address Wednesday (9/17/08) to 150 deans, senior administrators, and community leaders, President James Spaniolo emphasized the increasing role of the university’s sustainability programs.
He identified sustainability as one of the principal ways in which he expects the university to mature and exert a leadership role in the coming years.
“[T]hrough our combined efforts we can become a nationally recognized major research university. We can be a university that’s dedicated to both academic excellence and an engaging campus life. We can produce graduates who are prepared and equipped to get the job done, and alumni who continue a lifelong relationship with their alma mater. We can be a major contributor to economic development in North Texas and beyond. We can be a leader in the sustainability movement, not only in Texas but in our nation. And—this is important—we can be a good neighbor in our community of Arlington.”
In describing what attracts students to the university, he said:
“[S]tudents choose their university home based on many different criteria: academic reputation, campus life, perceptions about location, school spirit, to name a few. But there’s more. I read recently that potential students, when choosing a university, are increasingly looking at campus sustainability efforts. In other words, the ‘green’ that students are looking at today has nothing to with school colors or how much money they’ll make when they graduate!
“This is good news for UT Arlington, because we consider sustainability to be more than a fad but a new way of thinking and living. “
He described some of the university’s sustainability initiatives to date:
“For the last several months, the President’s Sustainability Committee—co-chaired by SUPA faculty member Jeff Howard and Don Lange from Facilities Management—has focused on how we can accomplish more by using less. We’ve installed the first green roof in North Texas, and we’re one of just two universities in Texas that has analyzed our carbon footprint. I’m sure you saw the news two weeks ago that our new Engineering Research Complex will include the university’s first LEED Silver Certified building. It will also have a green roof. And this is only the beginning. We may bleed blue, but Mavericks go green.”
Finally, he pointed to the role of sustainability research at UT Arlington:
“Our continuing challenge will be conducting research across the campus that furthers sustainable efforts—here and beyond. New energy alternatives, like we’re discovering in the College of Science. Better sustainable structures, like we’re developing in the School of Architecture. Improving how we power our cars, like we’re researching in the College of Engineering. We must be a university that, as Tom Friedman said on campus last week, drives the ‘energy technology’ revolution.”