The University Record, April 22, 2002

Revamped Web site showcases environmental efforts

By Judy Steeh
News and Information Services

Environmental stewardship—actively and responsibly working to manage our resources for the benefit of present and future generations of people, plants and animals—has been an important goal for many at the University for many years. In this huge and complex organization, however, much of the effort has been hidden from public view, known only to individual units or departments.

Now a new Web site has been constructed to highlight these environmental initiatives and present a more complete picture of the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The pages include recent projects, like the pilot vermiculture food recycling program, and information about less visible strategies to prevent or reduce destruction of the environment, such as stormwater management programs, pollution prevention, alternative fuels and “green” purchasing.

One section of the site presents opportunities for individuals to help in areas like improving water quality, recycling, alternative transportation and buying “green” products. Another details research and teaching efforts from all over campus, dedicated to understanding and protecting the environment. The site highlights student-led initiatives and celebrates successes like

U-M’s recent victory as the National Recycling Coalition’s Outstanding School Program and the U-M Health System’s two environmental excellence awards from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

“Many within the University, in the community, even alumni, are deeply concerned about what U-M is doing to reduce our impact on the environment, and we are happy to have this chance to let them know about the programs we’ve started,” said Terry Alexander, director of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health. “There’s a lot we can do administratively, and we know we have more to do, but the key to our ultimate success is going to be the involvement of students and faculty,” he added. “We can’t do it alone.”

Interim President B. Joseph White concurs. “I strongly believe that we need to challenge the University to become an exemplary organization in terms of environmental stewardship and to build on the many initiatives we already have in place, from recycling to mercury reduction,” he said in a recent letter to the University community. “We have a responsibility to pass on to our children and to their children—in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint and around the world—a healthy and beautiful planet.”

“The site attempts to capture activities going on across campus, but we know we haven’t identified everything,” says Julie Peterson, associate vice president for media relations and public affairs. “We will continue to add to this site as we learn about additional efforts that should be featured.” Send information about new or existing activities to environmental.stewardship@umich.edu.

You will find the Environmental Stewardship Web site at www.umich.edu/~urel/stewardship.