About the UofL Sustainability Council
The University of Louisville's Sustainability Council serves as the primary coordinating and advisory body for all efforts to integrate sustainability into all functions of the university. We use the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) framework developed by AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) for strategic planning and guidance. The Council has active committees focused on each of the four STARS categories:
Sub-committees focused on specific topics such as Food, Transportation, Solid Waste, and Trees are also active.
The Council is a deeply collaborative, transdisciplinary, participatory body designed to work across the barriers that typically divide us - i.e. across campuses, units, disciplines, personal status & demographics. As such, we welcome participation from all staff, faculty, students, and community members who want to help advance sustainability initiatives on campus.
The intention has always been to diffuse responsibility for sustainability throughout the institution. Our success depends entirely upon individuals paying attention and taking action in their own lives and sub-communities on campus. We thrive when you bring new ideas, knowledge, energy and resources to bear on this on-going process of institutional transformation.
Meeting schedules and public documents for the Council and all of its committees are available at our SharePoint site. The full Council gathers year-round on the last Wednesday of every month from 10-11:30am in Shumaker Research Building room 228 to discuss progress and new ideas in sustainability. Drop-ins and new standing members from all campuses, units, disciplines, and departments are invited to the table. Join us to help change the way we do things at UofL for the better!
Contact: Sustainability Council Chair, Dave Simpson, 502-852-8019, firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Office of the Provost:
The Sustainability Council provides oversight and direction, coordinates activities and recommends policies.
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
This, one of the most commonly referenced definitions of sustainability, comes from “Our Common Future: The Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development,” also known as the Brundtland Commission report. In 1991, UofL honored the Brundtland Commission with the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and Gro Harlem Brundtland spoke on campus the following academic year.
Today at UofL, an extraordinary amount of activity has been going on in the area of sustainability. Groups are implementing or planning everything from green purchasing policies to buying locally produced food, and energy audits to recycling programs.
UofL Green Scene columns:
- What is sustainability?
- Strides in the journey, but mountains to climb
- Committing to the climate
The Green Budget Rescue Team, largely comprised of folks from Arts and Sciences, has presented a proposal to manage our budget woes through smarter personal and institutional energy practices. The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center runs programs all over the state to help businesses run more efficiently. The Partnership for a Green City teams us with local schools and the city to manage our environmental resources better.
Both our purchasing department and food vendors have begun using more recycled and renewable materials, and many disciplines are offering specific classes that focus on various aspects of healthy environments. Our faculty are conducting research that will help develop renewable forms of energy and are developing pilot devices that will let our technology operate more efficiently and save our land and waterways.
We’re doing a lot, but we can, and will, do more.
One of the goals of our new strategic plan is to be “creative and responsible stewards” of our resources. That includes making a commitment to sustainability and efficiency — a commitment so important to us that we will track our progress according to standards from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Because we work best when we work together, I have formed the Sustainability Council to help pull together our efforts and to keep the campus community informed of everything that’s happening. The council also will help us move into a leadership position in the sustainability area.
Among other things, the Council will:
- Develop and review policies to recommend for implementation to the President and Provost
- Set metrics and provide oversight to measure progress using the categories in the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) and in other important areas
- Create new subgroups or committees, if needed, to move forward agendas
- Serve as a clearinghouse for university activities related to sustainable practices
- Encourage faculty, staff and students to become involved in our efforts
- Work with the Office of Communications and Marketing to publicize internally and externally what we’re doing
I’m sure more tasks will emerge, but you can see from these examples that the main purpose of the council is to coordinate and lead our activities and create excitement for creative thinking and engagement in this important area.
The Council has its work cut out, but all of our ideas and creativity will be needed to keep these initiatives going forward and for us to reach our goal to be a national leader in sustainability and efficiency.
Your contributions are always welcome! Meeting times for the Sustainability Council and its Committees are available here.