National Wildlife Federation deems U-M transportation,
recycling programs 'exemplary'
The University earned kudos in several categories, including transportation programs and recycling, in the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) report Campus Environment 2008: A National Report Card on Sustainability in Higher Education.
U-M is one of 334 universities recognized for exemplary programs or having a strong commitment to do more to achieve sustainability. In all, 1,068 U.S. public and private colleges and universities participated in the NWF survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
Campus Environment 2008 does not rank or grade individual campuses. Instead, the report, released Aug. 21, analyzes "trends in terms of collective percentages of schools engaged in important good practices in the areas of leadership, management, academics and operations." The NWF issued its first survey report, State of the Campus Environment, in 2001.
U-M, one of only 14 schools cited for exemplary transportation programs, has one of the largest university alternative fuel programs in the United States with 87 percent of its passenger vehicle fleet using alternative fuel exclusively. Transportation highlights include:
• 491 passenger vehicles use E85 ethanol
• 61 large buses use ultra-low sulfur, bio-diesel fuel
• 37 service trucks use bio-diesel fuel
In FY 2008 U-M buses logged more than 1,166,775 miles and transported approximately 5.9 million students, faculty, staff and alumni
• The University has 79 vanpools serving 32 cities; the vanpools traveled more than 1.4 million miles in 2007
• The M-Ride program established in 2004 allows the U-M population to ride Ann Arbor Transportation Authority buses free, which has significantly increased bus ridership within the City of Ann Arbor
U-M is among 46 schools cited by the NWF for outstanding recycling efforts.
In FY 2008 U-M recycled 5,024 tons or 26 percent of its total waste stream, including 241 tons of waste diverted from landfill disposal through composting and 3,700 tons of paper. In addition, the University sent 155 tons of computer monitors, fluorescent light bulbs and batteries to electronic waste recycling companies. The firms are audited to insure that all U-M electronics waste is fully recycled within the continental United States in a safe and environmentally appropriate manner.
The University's Property Disposition office sells used items to other University units and the outside community. In FY2008 Property Disposition resold $2.4 million worth of material for reuse, including laboratory equipment, office and residence hall furniture, and computing supplies such as CPUs, monitors and printers.
Student move-out and move-in programs, begun in 1991, collect clothing, food, bedding, toiletries, kitchen appliances and personal electronics that are donated to charitable organizations such as Purple Heart, Food Gatherers, St. Vincent DePaul, the Salvation Army and the PTO Thrift Shop.
In addition, each year undergraduate teaching laboratories recycle more than 2,000 gallons of solvents for reuse in solvent distillation systems.
In 2003 President Mary Sue Coleman convened the Environmental Sustainability Task Force to develop a plan to create a sustainable future. The task force identified key environmental performance indicators to monitor, improve and report on annually: energy; water, land and materials use; emissions; solid waste and emerging issues.
The University announced in April 2007 its Environmental and Energy Six-Point Plan, which addresses energy conservation, green purchasing, construction and design standards and alternative transportation.