Forum explores UCCS ecological commitment

March 3, 2011
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In a rapid-fire tag-team style, members of the UCCS Climate Action Committee showed what the campus is doing to reduce carbon emissions and establish sustainability practices for now and for the future during an all-campus forum Tuesday.

Peg Bacon, provost, along with seven other committee members, shared progress and plans via a PowerPoint presentation with about 90 faculty, staff and students in the University Theater.

“The chancellor signed the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ Climate Commitment in February of 2007,” Bacon said. “We were one of the first 50 signatories, and there are now over 600 colleges and universities making an effort to address global climate disruption.”

Bacon continued by pointing out the university’s “very ambitious” goal of reducing its emissions by 20 percent by 2020, 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. She reviewed steps already taken, which included RecycleMania participation and reduced paper use. The goal of making new campus buildings LEED-certified silver was included, she said, and was exceeded when those buildings earned gold certification.

Committee members came forward to discuss greenhouse gasses and their effects, global climate change, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and projections of what the campus must do as it grows. Others described ongoing efforts to conserve electricity with more efficient technology in lighting, heating and cooling campus buildings and using renewable energy technology. Others talked about the installation of toilets and other devices geared for water conservation and promoting conservation efforts in general.

Committee members described academic and informal methods to involve students, and reminded the audience to develop “reduce, reuse, and recycle” habits in everyday activities. They provided tips individuals can follow to increase efficiency, conservation and sustainability.

Bacon concluded the presentation with these “takeaway” points: UCCS has made a significant commitment to reducing its climatic impact; Climate change and sustainability must be incorporated in the curriculum and in informal education on campus; UCCS is taking steps to reduce emissions that also help reduce energy costs; and significant progress needs to continue in order to meet emissions reduction targets.

“You are part of the solution,” she said.

Presenters included Tom Christensen, dean, College of Letters, Arts and Scences; Tom Huber, professor, Geography and Environmental Studies; Jeff Davis, director, University Center; Rob Dougherty, director, Physical Plant; Jerry Wilson, executive director, Information Technology; Linda Kogan, director, Office of Sustainability; and Kevin Gilford, office manager, Office of Sustainability.

For more information about the campus climate action plan, visit http://www.uccs.edu/~sustain/site/climate.html

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