Improving sustainability at UofL with Justin Mog

Brook St. student walkway

By Matthew Keck–

Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives at the University of Louisville, is 45 years old and has never had a driver’s license. This is one of the ways he’s “weirding” in the age of global climate weirding, as he puts it.

During U of L’s Sustainability Week, Mog has visited the Health Science and Belknap campus to discuss environmental, social and economical stewardship. He is looking to raise awareness and show students, faculty and staff how they can contribute to making U of L a more sustainable university.

“We need to act now and do something different,” said Mog.

With climate change undeniably in the forefront of today’s world, Mog is educating those who want to help make a change. Something as simple as bringing a reusable water bottle with you to work or school makes a difference, said Mog.

He reflected on U of L’s past and the progress they have made in the 10 years that he has been here. Specifically, he touched on when U of L’s campus flooded in 2009 and how that was a turning point for the university’s sustainability initiatives.

Suggestions Mog made for a more sustainable campus include:

  • Eliminating waste and pollution.
  • Eliminating abuse and injustice to people, animals and the planet.
  • Relying on renewable resources.
  • Swapping disposable for durable.
  • Cultivating diversity both ecologically and as humans.

“It’s the kind of thing we need to do in the face of crisis,” Mog said. It was a point of his that people don’t have to suffer to be sustainable, rather they just need to change habits.

As a whole U of L’s carbon footprint has decreased by 13 percent since 2006. Initiatives such as the roundabout at Floyd St. and Brandeis and the new student walkway on Brook St. are a couple of the ways Louisville has made an impact on the environment. Both of these changes have decreased the amount of idling and emissions on campus.

Areas where U of L is having trouble with sustainability are purchased electricity (fossil fuels), on-campus stationary and student commuting. As of 2018 72.4 percent drive alone to campus along with 86.3 percent of faculty doing the same.

In the past U of L has tried to offer incentives for students not driving to campus, such as their “Earn-A-Bike” program. Students received a $400 voucher to a local bike shop so they could purchase a bike to ride to school. This initiative only lasted from 2012 to 2016.

Despite U of L’s failed initiatives in the past and vast room for improvement, they are still the most sustainable university in Kentucky. U of L received their highest STARS Gold rating this year.

“When you start adding it up we can make a difference at U of L,” said Mog.

Photo By Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal 

Source: Improving sustainability at U of L with Justin Mog (The Louisville Cardinal, Oct. 22, 2019)