UAlbany Promotes Commitment to Sustainability by Signing Agreement
Interim President George M. Philip signs American College and University
Presidents Climate Commitment as campus readies for annual Cleanup Day
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"We are making strides in becoming a more environmentally responsible campus and signing this document reflects the University's intentions to remain steadfast in its commitment to addressing these critical global challenges," said Philip.
"We have already taken measures as a campus community to become more environmentally-friendly and I look forward to continue working together to discuss how we can achieve carbon neutrality and further examine our institutional processes and behaviors," said Mary Ellen Mallia, director of Environmental Sustainability.
UAlbany has implemented several initiatives to promote environmental sustainability on campus. In January, the University named Mallia as director of Environmental Sustainability, a newly-created position devoted to support the campus' sustainability efforts, including the work of UAlbany's Environmental Sustainability Task Force.
Created in February 2006, the Task Force addresses the state of the University's sustainability policies and practices through the work of six committees; tracks conditions in areas ranging from energy use to waste management; and recommends ways to raise awareness and promote a culture that supports sustainability.
Other University-wide initiatives include:
- "Go Green" Initiative -- Launched in October 2006, the comprehensive environmental initiative encourages faculty, staff and students to "think and act green" by embracing UAlbany's responsibility to conserve, recycle and beautify the campus and environment.
- Recyclemania -- The University recycled 13.4 pounds per person, 30 percent more than last year's mark, and garnered more than 230,000 pounds of recyclables to rank third in New York state for overall amount of recyclables this spring.
- Local food purchases -- Chartwells, UAlbany's food service provider, purchased 2,500 pounds of pasture-raised (grass-fed) beef to serve in the campus dining halls. In a typical year, Chartwells purchases as much as $60,000 per semester in local produce. Most popular with students are New York apples, with about a ton consumed each week in the University dining rooms.
- Energy campaign -- In two campaigns (fall 2007 and 2008), residence halls reduced energy costs by $25,000.
- UAlbany Students for Sustainability -- Created in 2008, this student-based group is devoted to promoting environmentally-friendly practices and events around campus.
Events and activities scheduled throughout the year to educate and engage the campus also include Campus Cleanup and the Farmer's Market, featuring locally grown produce and sponsored by Chartwells.
The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment recognizes the unique leadership role and obligation that institutions of higher education have in responding to the global climate crisis. UAlbany joins more than 520 other institutions in a collective effort to reduce carbon emissions across the United States.
Specifically, the Commitment calls for:
- Completing an emissions inventory;
- Developing an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Within two years, setting a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral;
- Integrating sustainability into the curriculum; and
- Making the action plan and reports available to the public.
For more information on going green, visit UAlbany's Go Green Web site.
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