UCCS approves 2030 Sustainability Strategic Plan

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) has approved its 2030 Sustainability Strategic Plan to chart the institution’s next decade of environmental progress. Photo credit: Jeffrey M Foster

In line with its commitment to sustainability and innovation, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) has approved its 2030 Sustainability Strategic Plan to chart the institution’s next decade of environmental progress.

The plan rests on four core strategies focusing on leadership; teaching and research; operations; and engagement with the wider community. The strategies include:

  • Fostering a culture of sustainability at UCCS and beyond.
  • Cultivating excellence in research and teaching related to sustainability, climate change, energy, environmental justice and equity.
  • Modeling sustainability, efficiency and innovation in UCCS’ campus operations, infrastructure and facilities management.
  • Engaging UCCS students, faculty, staff and members of the Colorado Springs community with events and programming related to sustainability.

The plan seeks to deepen existing institutional commitments to sustainability, many of which permeate campus life. For instance, all UCCS students must complete a sustainability course as part of their general education requirements. UCCS has a strong zero-waste program across campus, including recycling, compost and low-wattage electronics, helping the university to achieve a 50 percent diversion rate. 15 of its buildings are LEED Gold-certified high performance facilities, and since 2012, the student-led Green Action Fund has approved and invested over $1.3M in funding for 140+ innovative sustainability projects on campus.

The plan also seeks to leverage new approaches, with a focus on reducing UCCS’ carbon footprint. Proposed initiatives include increasing the number of faculty and student researchers involved in sustainability-related research, investing in emerging water efficiency technologies, retrofitting older campus spaces, pursuing Net Zero Energy and Zero Waste strategies and reducing emissions and fossil fuels related to university functions.

The goal is to make UCCS a recognized leader in sustainability — weaving social justice, economic and ecological values into institutional programs and practices.

“We are in an era requiring leadership and innovative approaches to prepare our graduates for a rapidly changing global environment,” said Venkat Reddy, Chancellor of UCCS, in the introduction to the plan. “UCCS seeks to play a pivotal role in creating a culture of sustainability, providing both the knowledge and practices that students will carry with them into their lives after college.”

“UCCS has seen great success from the two previous campus Sustainability Strategic Plans in reducing the University’s carbon footprint, creating research and courses on sustainability, climate action and justice topics, and engaging our campus and broader community in educational opportunities to foster positive change through awareness and passion,” added Kimberly Reeves, Interim Director of Sustainability. “To continue making UCCS more sustainable, it will take our entire campus community. The exciting opportunities this plan outlines are an encouragement for you to innovate and advocate and engage.”

UCCS has been recognized for its sustainability efforts with three consecutive Gold ratings by the STARS Sustainability, Tracking, Rating and Assessment System, and has been named one of the top three most sustainable universities in Colorado. In turn, the 2030 Sustainability Strategic Plan is aligned with the UCCS 2030 Strategic Plan, the STARS Sustainability, Tracking, Rating and Assessment System and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member, UCCS alum or a member of the Colorado Springs community, you can contribute to sustainability efforts at UCCS. Visit the UCCS 2030 Sustainability Strategic Plan below to get started.

About the Office of Sustainability at UCCS 

The Office of Sustainability creates opportunities for UCCS and Colorado Springs community members to engage in equitable, environmental and economical sustainability practices through their studies, work, extracurricular activities and everyday actions. Based in the Sustainability Demonstration House on the UCCS campus, the office coordinates and encourages sustainability efforts for every member of the campus community. Learn how you can engage with sustainability on the UCCS Office of Sustainability website.