Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, September 13, 2010

From ideas to action plans: Campus sustainability project enters Phase Two

Phase One of U-M’s Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment (CSIA) is officially complete.

In June, seven CSIA Analysis Teams submitted reports proposing a wide range of campus sustainability ideas related to Buildings, Energy, Land & Water, Food, Transportation, Purchasing & Recycling, and Culture. Over the summer, these reports were synthesized into an integration report that sets the course for Phase Two.


Click here to view the CSIA Interim Report.

• The University Record, available today at racks across campus, contains a special supplement on the campus sustainability initiative.

“Phase One was all about generating well-informed ideas that could potentially move the University of Michigan forward in our campus sustainability efforts,” says Don Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute and special counsel to the president on sustainability. “We’re now ready to take a deeper dive and thoroughly evaluate the opportunities that most closely align with institutional priorities.”

Examples of Phase Two priorities include developing plans for:

• Prioritizing and implementing sustainable building practices on renovation projects costing less than $10 million.

• Expanding U-M’s renewable-energy sources for heating, cooling and electricity needs.

• Decreasing the use of herbicides, pesticides and grounds-related water.

• Expanding the percentage of locally sourced food U-M purchases.

• Optimizing campus land use and transportation modes to most effectively use and integrate multiple Ann Arbor campuses.

• Improving the efficiency of Property Disposition and increasing landfill diversion rates.

• Tracking sustainability awareness and behavior among U-M students, faculty and staff.

“We’re very pleased with the thought and effort that went into Phase One and we’re even more excited to see the in-depth analyses that will be developed over the next several months,” says Terry Alexander, executive director of the Office of Campus Sustainability. “The ultimate purpose of the CSIA is to develop and inform a set of commitments and stretch goals to guide campus sustainability efforts into the future.”

With future commitments and stretch goals in mind, the project’s Integration Team evaluated all suggested ideas with an eye toward how they complemented one another. Through the integration process, it was determined that all ideas could be mapped to five key theme areas: Climate, Human Health, Ecosystem Health, Materials Footprint and Community Awareness. Following Phase Two, additional work will be conducted to integrate the individual team analyses into a final report that recommends long-term commitments and associated goals for each of these five theme areas.

In Phase Two, efforts also will continue to engage the campus community in the CSIA process. During Phase One, analysis teams received, assessed and categorized nearly 200 ideas, comments and suggestions from students, faculty, staff and some community members about how sustainability efforts could be improved on campus. These ideas were gathered through both town hall meetings and an online suggestion tool.

The university also hosted an event in July where it received and assimilated input from other universities, corporations and organizations that have pursued similar sustainability initiatives.

“The University of Michigan is on a mission to be the global leader in sustainability education, research, operations, and engagement,” Scavia says. “We’re very eager to see how the outcomes from this important project help shape U-M’s path for the future.”