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Sustainability Commitee

Current UMD Sustainability Committee

As recommended by the UMD Chancellor’s office in May 2015, the UMD Sustainability Committee structure will be streamlined and report to the Chancellor’s Leadership Team, via Associate Vice Chancellor, Corbin Smyth. The current UMD Sustainability Committee membership includes subcommittees on Education and campus Operations.

2012 – 2015 UMD Sustainability Committee (retired)

The UMD Sustainability Committee was re-organized into working subcommittees with one overarching sustainability leadership team.  The reorganization better aligned UMD Sustainability Subcommittees with the U-wide Policy on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability and allows easier gathering and assessment of progress on implementing U-wide Sustainability Goals and Outcomes for Annual Sustainability Reports.

The charge of the members of the UMD Sustainability Subcommittee was:

  • Facilitate continued incorporation of sustainability into UMD operations, education, outreach, and research activities at UMD.
  • Guide efforts at UMD to meet commitments for climate protection and support implementation of the U of MN Board of Regents Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Policy and the UMD Strategic Plan.
  • Advance opportunities for sustainability-related education, service, and research
  • Serve on Working Groups to support sustainability improvements at UMD.

Subcommittees were structured to support the U of M System-wide Goals as follows:

  1. Leadership and Modeling:  Through excellence in environmental education, research, outreach, and stewardship, the University shall strive to be a world leader by promoting and demonstrating sustainability and energy efficiency and by producing leaders and informed citizens. The University shall strive to be a model in the application of sustainability principles to guide campus operations by: (a) meeting and aspiring to exceed all applicable regulatory requirements; (b) preventing pollution at its source; (c) reducing emissions to the environment; and (d) encouraging the use of a life-cycle cost framework.  Successes included:
    1. Created and awarded the UMD Sustainability Inspiration Awards in years 2013 through 2015, in conjunction with UMD Student Awards Ceremony.
    2. Organized and held campus Sustainability Updates during Spring of 2013 (panel/event) and 2014 (interviews on KUMD by Vice Chancellors and Chancellor Black, see audio section multimedia page for archives of these interviews)
  2. Operational Improvements: The University shall undertake a continuous improvement process that seeks to meet the operational performance targets, goals, and objectives designed to achieve sustainability.
  3. Energy Efficiency: The University shall undertake a process to increase energy efficiency, reduce dependence on non-renewable energy, and encourage the development of energy alternatives through research and innovation.  Successes included:
    1. Led the creation and proposal of a Campus Temperature Standard, endorsed in March 10, 2014 at the Facilities Subcommittee meeting, via Campus Governance.
    2. Held educational events, including showing of Switch Energy Project film.
    3. Made funding recommendations on UMD Green Revolving Fund applications (Chem200 fan replacement, a portion of the UMD Small Wind Turbine Research project, along with continued applicants to the UMD Refrigerator Exchange).
  4. Research: The University shall (a) promote innovative, high visibility research projects focused on sustainability and energy efficiency to inform campus operations as a whole as well as the broader community; and (b) promote collaborative projects that include faculty research undertaken in partnership with operations staff, students, public entities, community organizations, and industry.
  5. Education and Outreach: The University shall promote educational and outreach activities that are linked to operational improvements and innovation principles. Success included:
    1. Members steered the UMD Sustainability Education Initiative, a report for the UMD Strategic Plan Initiative. See attached final report.
    2. Created a Sustainable Education Plan, and encouraged and endorsed faculty/staff participation in several training opportunities on sustainability.
    3. Vital partners and promoters of the Course Design for Sustainability Workshops, offered through IDS over the 2013-2014 school year.

Although three of the UMD Subcommittees were well-established and made progress on many issues, the structure faltered without high-level leadership and reporting lines.  In 2015, the current Sustainability Committee was intitiated (see above.)

2009 – 2012 UMD Sustainability Committee

In 2009, a UMD Sustainability Committee was formed to guide efforts at UMD and advance sustainability opportunities in education, service, operations, and research.  The Committee also led the creation of the 2011 UMD Energy Action Plan.

  • February 2009 – Overview of UMD’s sustainability commitments, sustainability communication team updates.
  • April 2009 – Review of Committee charge and structure, “UMD Energy 101: Electricity, heating, cooling, and more!”, Update on spring 2009 student sustainability activities.
  • June 2009 – Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2007: UMD’s baseline carbon footprint.
  • August 2009 – Tour of UMD’s first net–positive energy building: Bagley Outdoor Classroom (under construction).
  • November 2009 – What is next? Campus energy policy, Climate Action Planning– a framework for reducing UMD greenhouse gas emissions.
  • December 2010 – The committee reviewed and revised the first draft of UMD’s Energy Action Plan and approved carbon emission reduction goals. The draft UMD Energy Action Plan helps to meet the reporting requirements of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment.
  • March 2011 – The committee approved a revised draft of the UMD Energy Action Plan along with a marketing plan to gain feedback from the campus. The committee recommended that the Sustainability Office host a Campus Idols program next year, focusing on individual department members and promoting energy efficiency and other resource conservation.