UT Arlington has joined a cutting-edge program called Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Participation will help the Office of Sustainability monitor the university’s overall performance on a wide range of issues, from curriculum, research, and community engagement to buildings, dining services, and landscaping.
Archive for the 'Assessment' Category
Yesterday I updated the PSC Steering Committee on the carbon footprint reduction initiative. The committee requested that Sustainability Director Meghna Tare prepare a proposal on how to formally get footprint reduction planning underway.
On October 28th UTA hosted the North Central Texas Campus Climate Summit. The event was co-sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington, the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program and the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability. The student groups involved with bringing this event to campus were:
The first-ever North Central Texas Campus Climate Summit brought together over 50 participants from 15 different universities and colleges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The summit provided opportunities for faculty, students, staff and administrators from the region to get together to share ideas, best practices and resources to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. The main themes explored were 1) Transforming the Curriculum to Address Eco-literacy 2) Green Workforce Development and 3) Comprehensive Greening of Campus Operations.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, of which UT Arlington is a member, has issued its annual compendium of developments in campus sustainability. The 356-page volume provides an overview of sustainability efforts on hundreds of campuses, including UT Arlington.
AASHE Digest 2008 (pdf)
UT Austin hired a contractor to perform the university’s first carbon footprint analysis. The results were published this spring.
At the December 2008 meeting, the PSC voted to develop a carbon footprint reduction plan by the end of June 2009. Early in the spring semester, as the first step of this process, several of the PSC work groups (along with Environmental Health & Safety) formally responded to the 2008 carbon footprint report.
Landscaping & Habitat (6/22/09)
As I noted at the May 12 meeting, however, the planning process is behind schedule because hiring of the Sustainability Director has taken longer than expected. The work group responses will be assessed during the upcoming carbon footprint reduction planning course that begins June 3. Recommendations developed during the course will be made available to the PSC and Sustainability Director in August, with the expectation that a revised timeline for the reduction planning process can be presented at the PSC’s August 11 meeting.
Comments on the work group statements are welcome and will be taken into account during the summer analysis.
Campus Carbon Footprint Reduction
CIRP 5332 (course no. 51241)
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50 p.m., June 3 – August 13
Instructor: Dr. Jeff Howard, School of Urban & Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
This graduate course will be devoted to assisting the University of Texas at Arlington with planning reductions in its “carbon footprint” – that is, reductions in its direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. During a parallel course in summer 2008, students and the instructor developed a report on the university’s carbon footprint, which now serves as the starting point for the President’s Sustainability Committee’s effort to plan effective means to reduce the footprint.
In collaboration with the instructor, students will examine preliminary recommendations included in the 2008 report, assess these in light of initial responses from the sustainability committee, and use tools such as the guide produced by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to develop further analysis and recommendations for formal presentation to the committee and the campus community.
Because climate change is increasingly prominent in public policy nationally and internationally, the course will provide students an opportunity to develop a skill set, conceptual base, and practical experience that can be applied in municipalities and institutions across the world. It also provides concrete assistance to a large university devoted to making improvements in its environmental impacts.
The course is expected to be of particular interest to students in Urban & Public Affairs, Environmental & Earth Science, Environmental Engineering, Architecture, and Business but is open to graduate students from across the campus (and conceivably to senior undergrads). Students interested in taking the course are invited to contact the instructor.
On Friday, April 24, the Environmental Society will host a forum discussion open to the university community and the general public.
Location: Pedernales Room, Upper Level, E.H. Hereford University Center, U.T. Arlington
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Friday, 24th April 2009
This event is part of a growing effort to develop conscientious discussion on the many problems associated with parking lots on campus. All members of the university community are invited to participate and share their views, opinions and ideas. We hope this discussion will allow the university community to better understand and review the vital decisions being taken by university administration related to parking lots on campus.
At its December 16 meeting, the PSC voted to begin planning reductions in the university’s emissions of greenhouse gases.
A report released in 2008 described the “carbon footprint” for the baseline year of 2005, projected emissions in 2010 and 2020, proposed emission targets for “responsible growth,” and offered a series of emission reduction scenarios for several sectors (e.g., buildings, landscaping). Under the process initiated in December:
- >>Several of the committee’s work groups will formally evaluate the 2008 report and develop recommendations on suitable emissions reduction targets. They will present summaries of their evaluations and recommendations at the PSC’s general meeting on February 10.
- >>At the March 10 meeting of the steering committee, the soon-to-be-hired Sustainability Director will propose emissions reduction goals for each sector and for the university as a whole. The steering committee, in turn, will submit recommended goals to Pres. Spaniolo.
- >>At the June 9 general meeting, the PSC will send Pres. Spaniolo a set of recommended amendments to bring the Sustainability Agenda into line with the emissions reduction goals.
- >>At the June 9 meeting The PSC will request that the Sustainability Director report annually on the university’s progress toward meeting these goals and request that university-wide carbon footprint analyses be conducted in (or based on emissions in) 2010 and 2015.
Presentation and proposal, Dec. 16, 2009
Carbon footprint report (released in 2008)
A PSC budget of $138,750 for fiscal year 2009 has been approved by President Spaniolo and was announced at the Oct.14 meeting. These funds are to cover the expense of implementing some of the Sustainability Agenda items approved in the spring.
It is important to note that this budget does not include numerous Sustainability Agenda items that are being funded under the regular budget of various administrative units.
Building & Development $ 0 (0.0%)
Communications 16,250 (11.7)
Curriculum & Research 5,000 (3.6)
Dining Services 0 (0.0)
Energy & Water 10,000 (7.2)
Landscaping & Habitat 12,500 (9.0)
Management Systems 60,000 (43.2)
Purchasing 0 (0.0)
Waste Reduction 35,000 (25.2)
Total $138,750 ( 100.0%)