Letter to Brian Boerner

The following is a letter to Brian Boerner, director of Fort Worth’s Department of Environmental Management. Brian is a member of the President’s Sustainability Committee and at today’s meeting made an excellent presentation offering suggestions on how the committee should approach its work.




Thanks for your presentation today. I look forward to learning more about the FW sustainability task force. When you look at the draft version of the UTA Sustainability page, you’ll see that FW DEM is not yet listed among the Resources; and we’ll want to link to the task force there, too. What’s the best way for us to get a look at the task force’s work? Is there a web page? I’m particularly interested in learning how lifecycle analysis is shaping the body’s decision making.


I appreciate your challenge on ozone emissions. It’s not immediately clear to me how the PSC would go about considering its implications. Would a full-scale ozone-emissions inventory be a useful step? To what extent would you expect an O3-reduction plan to differ from a GHG [greenhouse gas]-reduction plan? Even if (virtually?) any O3 reduction would also accomplish C02 reduction, the converse clearly does not hold. So if I’m thinking about it correctly, you’re essentially proposing that the university, in its GHG-reduction efforts, place higher priority on GHG reductions that do double duty as 03 reductions than on GHG reductions that do not. Is that the shape of it?


I particularly thank you for your pointed comment on benchmarking, which, like your ozone challenge, directly addresses what the committee’s fundamental logic ought to be. You agree, I take it, that identifying benchmarks is important. And you’ve now put the benchmarks-should-be-seen-as-floor-not-ceiling standard on the table. I will join you in promoting it. Inevitably we’ll have to pick and choose where to focus our resources, realizing that we can’t lead in every area. But I hope that overall we’ll be dissatisfied with merely catching up with the leaders, and your standard – we could call it the Boerner Doctrine – is one that I can see us needing to drag out time and time again as a way of challenging ourselves not to be satisfied with mediocrity.


Your call for the university to try to impact markets is also a useful one. The best scale for this is probably coordination within the UT System on purchasing and design standards. It appears that one of our main challenges will be working with our counterparts at UT Austin and other schools to press for solid initiatives at the System level. But perhaps at the same time we should look for opportunities for UT Arlington to join forces with the cities of FW, Arlington, and Dallas and with schools like UNT, SMU, and TCU for group purchases of recycled paper, etc.


Thanks again for the provocative remarks.



Shorthorn article on paperless classroom initiative

The Shorthorn today published an article on several students in Jane Ahrens’ undergraduate Sustainability class (ARCH 3331) who are promoting the idea of a paperless (or substantially less paper-dependent) classroom — and several instructors in the English Department who have been experimenting with the idea.

EPA Green Power Partnership

I received this letter today.



Dear Dr. Howard,

I am contacting you on behalf of the U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership ( www.epa.gov/greenpower  ) – a voluntary program that provides assistance and recognition to organizations that demonstrate environmental leadership by choosing green power.

I understand from a news article that the University of Texas at Arlington has created a Sustainability Committee to develop policies and strategies to advance the university’s commitment to help meet today’s serious environment challenges. Consequently, I am writing to inform you about the EPA Green Power Partnership program as it offers free technical assistance to organizations interested in purchasing clean, renewable energy as well as helps Partners garner additional public recognition. For your reference, I have attached a presentation on the benefits of green power for higher education institutions.

Currently, more than 80 colleges and universities have already switched to green power and are being recognized for their leadership by EPA, including:
* Texas A&M System
* Southern Methodist University
* University of Central Oklahoma

To see our Top 10 College and University Partners, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top10ed.htm
To see our College & University Green Power Challenge, please visit:

For your reference, the Partnership’s Agreement form can be found here:

The EPA would welcome the opportunity to assist UT-Arlington in purchasing green power and recognizing its environmental leadership. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

ERG, On behalf of the EPA Green Power Partnership
Phone: (617) 357-4630
email: anthony.amato@erg.com

Webcast — Climate change and higher education

Please forward this to colleagues and to appropriate email lists. Thank you.

Mark Your Calendars Climate Change and Higher Education Webcast on December 12, 2007

On December 12, SCUP, AASCU, and The New York Times Knowledge Network will present a webcast titled:/ Climate Change and Higher Education:

Leadership to Achieve Climate Neutrality/. We encourage you to register for this event and to promote it among your colleagues and in your community.

Upcoming Webcast

Climate Change and Higher Education: Leadership to Achieve Climate Neutrality


Wednesday, December 12,

2:00 pm 3:30 pm ET

1:00 pm 2:30 pm CT

12:00 noon 1:30 pm MT

11:00 am 12:30 pm PT

A Webcast with Michael Crow, *President, Arizona State University; *Billy Parish, *Co-founder and Coordinator of the Energy Action Coalition; and *Dave Newport, *Director, University of Colorado at Boulder Environmental Center

Moderator: James Gorman*, Science Editor, /The New York* *Times

This webcast will be filmed and streamed live via the Internet. There will be opportunity for text questions and answers during the live program. This webcast explores steps that colleges and universities are taking to respond to climate change, and will provide models that are transferable to other higher education institutions, corporations and communities. Through these activities, higher education is leading by example, sending strong signals to the markets and policy makers with their actions and enabling the rest of society follow suit through research and education.

More Information and Registration:





Terry Calhoun, MA, JD

734.998.7027 | terry.calhoun@scup.org | www.scup.org | AIM splendid1 Director of Media Relations and Publications Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)

339 E. Liberty Street, SUite 300, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Press release on launch of Committee

News Release — 01 November 2007


Media contact: Sue Stevens, (817) 272-3317, sstevens@uta.edu

ARLINGTON–The University of Texas at Arlington, an award-winner for its recycling and composting programs, is seriously going green. President James D. Spaniolo has formed a President’s Sustainability Committee to develop policies and strategies to advance the university’s commitment to help meet today’s serious environment challenges.

Jeff Howard, assistant professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs, and Craig Powell, director of Environmental Health and Safety, are co-chairing the committee, which includes university staff, students and faculty, as well as representatives of cities and nongovernmental organizations.

Full text of press release


Further signaling its commitment to sustainability, UT Arlington has formally joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). More than 225 four-year academic institutions are members of AASHE. UT Arlington becomes the fourth in Texas, alongside UT Austin, Rice University, and Trinity University.

AASHE’s extensive resources will be quite valuable to UT Arlington as it extends its sustainability program. The President’s Sustainability Committee and its work groups will find the AASHE web page to provide a wealth of case studies, reports, guidelines, and other materials dealing with every aspect of campus sustainability, from best practices in landscaping and dining services to course syllabi and surveys on student environmental awareness.

Every member of the UT Arlington community — faculty, staff, and students alike — has complete access to AASHE’s on-line Resource Center. Access to “locked” materials (available only to member institutions) is available to anyone with a UT Arlington e-mail address: Go to the log-in page and click on Create a New Account.

Campus Sustainability Day at UT Austin

This message was posted to a listserv on campus sustainability initiatives in Texas (see the Resources tab, above).



Date: Thurs, Oct 25 2007 3:05 pm
From: “Hallahan, Michele M”


I want to share the success of our first ever Campus Sustainability Day
at UT Austin, which we celebrated yesterday. Attached is the flyer we
sent out to over 3,000 email recipients on campus. I also had this
printed in our Daily Texan newspaper and posted it online on various UT
websites. The event brought together 24 distinct groups/ departments
from across UT Austin, all of which had some responsibility/ involvement
in sustainable practices on campus. Most students and staff are not
even aware that we have had water conservation measures in place since
the 1980s, not to mind a highly efficient power plant. This event was
organized to expand people’s awareness of the great stories that are not
told here on campus!

Everything from tree planting to LEED building to water and energy
conservation to student groups were present to raise the level of
awareness campus-wide about how people can make a difference in their
own lives. We were featured on KUT radio this morning and the Daily
Texan had a front page story about the event also.

My plan is to recreate this event for Earth Day in a bigger way, in a
better location, and to invite city organizations also. Did anyone else
have a campus sustainability day? Will you share your stories?

Best regards,

Michele Hallahan BA Mod, MSc, ALCM

Environmental Operations

Environmental Health and Safety

University of Texas

Phone: 512 471 2039

Pager: 512 935 9045