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UAlbany Environmental Initiatives Target Reducing Carbon Footprint, Enhancing Educational Opportunities

Sustainability minor provides career pathways for undergraduates

UAlbany students, faculty and staff are taking steps to reduce the University's carbon footprint.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 7, 2013) -- In recognition of Sustainability Week (Nov. 11-15), the University at Albany is launching a series of environmental initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon footprint and enhancing career opportunities for students. Most notably, beginning in the fall of 2013, undergraduates are able to enroll in a sustainability minor, a multidisciplinary program designed to provide students with a solid foundation in the environmental, geopolitical and social aspects of sustainability.

Additional highlights include the installation of a new GPS system to provide arrival times for the University's shuttle and bus service. Students, faculty and staff can now follow the real-time route of buses online. UAlbany's bus fleet includes five electric-hybrid buses. UAlbany now has two operating electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The stations are available free of charge through a NYSERDA-funded joint venture with National Grid. One is located on the downtown campus in the Thurlow Lot and the other is on Collins Circle.

UAlbany will also host a series of discussions and events around the themes of climate change, food, alternative transportation, energy and recycling. The first event will be a discussion on the National Climate Assessment report, which will be held on Monday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m., in Campus Center room 375. These initiatives are part of UAlbany's "Green Scene" efforts to promote responsible environmental programs, including recycling, education, communication, procurement and policies.

The Sustainability Minor

The new UAlbany minor in sustainability creates a multidisciplinary curriculum that will help students understand what sustainability is and how it is perceived within various disciplines. Students will take courses that specifically address the environmental, geopolitical or social aspects of sustainability. Students from any discipline may pursue the sustainability minor. Undergraduates will take at least three credits from each of these categories: Natural/Physical Science (includes Atmospheric Science, Biology, Environmental Science), Social Sciences/History (includes Geography, History, Philosophy), and Planning. Careers in sustainability include positions within the energy industry, government, education, or a host of other fields.

UAlbany Bus Fleet

The UAlbany Bus Fleet services all of UAlbany's campuses, including the uptown, downtown, and East campuses. The fleet alsoservices Freedom Apartments, MSC/UAB, Western Avenue, Madison Avenue, and the Patroon Creek Complex, which includes the UAlbany Health Center. A shopping shuttle runs to Walmart and Price Chopper on Monday and Thursday evenings. Through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project managed by NYSERDA and submitted as part of the Capital District Clean Communities Coalition, UAlbany has upgraded the fleet to include five electric-hybrid buses.

During fall 2013, the UAlbany bus service is making it more convenient for riders to arrive at their destination. Each campus bus is now outfitted with a GPS tracker, which will allow students, faculty and staff to anticipate if the bus is running ahead or behind schedule. The real-time route information is available online, and can be accessed either via a website or QR code. Several display screens providing route information will also be installed in high traffic areas across campus by December 2013.

UAlbany students will table outside the Campus Center to encourage energy efficiency
UAlbany students will seek to raise awareness of energy efficiency and a host of other environmental issues during Sustainability Week.

Sustainability Week

In celebration of Sustainability Week, UAlbany will host a discussion on the National Climate Assessment report, which will be held on Monday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Campus Center room 375. The presentation is by UAlbany Research Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science Oliver Elison Timm and Post Doctoral Research Associate Elinor Martin. The National Climate Change Assessment report, which is prepared by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), informs the nation about already observed changes, the current status of the climate, and anticipated trends for the future, and provides input to the Federal government, communities, businesses and citizens as they create more sustainable and environmentally sound plans for the nation’s future.

The student group “UAlbany Students for Sustainability” will also set up tabling in the fountain area of the Campus Center throughout the week to promote the benefits of 'eating local,' alternative transportation, solar energy and lighting, and recycling. On Friday, Nov. 15, the University will reveal the results of the fall energy campaign on campus. The event, held at 3:30 p.m. in University Hall, provides recognition for groups and individuals who are helping to reduce the University's carbon footprint. UAlbany emits approximately 24,000 metrics tons of carbon dioxide equivalent every year from its electricity use. The goal of the energy campaign is to reduce electrical usage in all campus buildings over a 10-week period by 10 percent as measured against baseline. In 2012, the University saved more than a million kilowatt hours, with cost savings returned in part to the buildings for enhancing green amenities.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.