Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Web site showcases U-M sustainability efforts

The university has launched a new U-M Sustainability Web site to showcase its ongoing achievements in sustainability research, teaching and university operations, as well as to raise campus awareness of — and engagement in — related issues and activities.

Designed as a central portal, the site provides a comprehensive overview of sustainability news, information, events, and activities from across the entire campus. It will highlight the work being done to set campus goals for sustainable operations, and will communicate new operational milestones, such as the purchase of renewable energy credits.

The site also serves as a gateway to all sustainability education and research efforts at U-M, with extensive resources to help students discover relevant courses and programs. Stories on the site about faculty research and student learning experiences will illustrate U-M’s interdisciplinary strengths in sustainability scholarship.

Further, the site offers an events calendar, a collection of facts about U-M sustainability, featured initiatives and more.

The Web site is at www.sustainability.umich.edu.

“U-M makes its contribution to sustainability through multiple avenues: education, research, operations and wide-ranging collaborations,” says Don Scavia, special counsel to the U-M president for sustainability. “We want the Web site to inform people about our activities as a way to create greater support for sustainability on the local and global level.”

The university currently is working on establishing ambitious new goals for sustainable campus operations in areas such as energy use, transportation and building design. The goals will be announced in winter 2011.

“We will take U-M’s long record of operational achievement to the next level with bold new campus sustainability goals,” says Terry Alexander, executive director of the Office of Campus Sustainability. “We need the participation of faculty, students and staff to create a campus second to none in environmental leadership. Boosting campus awareness will be key to meeting our new goals.”

U-M is determining the new sustainability goals by carrying out an integrated assessment of campus sustainability. In a yearlong exercise, teams of faculty experts, students and staff study U-M’s existing practices and make recommendations for the future. Preliminary suggestions this summer will set the stage for a deeper dive into specific proposals in the fall. The university plans to announce four or five stretch goals for campus sustainability in winter 2011.

The next opportunity for the campus to participate in the integrated assessment will be at a town hall meeting from 4-5:30 Monday in the Rackham Amphitheatre. Team leaders will talk about their preliminary findings and proposed action plans followed by breakout sessions where audience members can provide comments and suggestions.