KU News Release

October 22, 2012
Contact: Jeff Severin, KU Center for Sustainability, 785-864-5804

KU celebrates Sustainability Week

LAWRENCE – Nearly one year after the release of the campus sustainability plan, Building Sustainable Traditions, the University of Kansas is hosting a series of events to highlight accomplishments along with opportunities for engagement centered on key elements of the plan.

“We’ve made significant progress toward the goals of Building Sustainable Traditions over the past year,” said Jeff Severin, director of the KU Center for Sustainability. “Campus Sustainability Week provides an opportunity to both recognize those achievements and reaffirm our commitment to contributing to a just, sustainable society.”

Sustainability has been integrated into the University’s strategic plan Bold Aspirations. All four strategic initiative themes, including “Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World,” contribute to sustainability by seeking to understand the broader implications of interconnected society and environmental challenges. An inventory of faculty research conducted as part of a self-assessment process identified nearly 170 faculty members from 29 different departments who are engaged in sustainability research.

That assessment utilized the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), which evaluates sustainability initiatives in academics, operations and administration, and resulted in the University achieving a Bronze STARS rating in February.

Significant progress was also made in campus operations to minimize waste and increase efficiencies.
• Parking & Transit launched a Hertz on Demand car-share service, providing an alternative to bringing a car to campus, and increased the efficiency of the campus bus fleet.
• A 12-week energy conservation competition, which was used as a pilot in developing more comprehensive approaches to promoting conservation behaviors on campus, reduced energy consumption in the three buildings by a combined 14.3 percent.
• And, new procurement contracts negotiated as part of the Changing for Excellence initiative are set to realize economic and environmental benefits. This includes reducing packaging and transportation impacts associated with shipping office supplies through Staples “Smart-Size” packaging and purchasing computer equipment from Dell that will result in greater energy efficiency and recycling efforts.

Finally, to help preserve and enhance the campus landscape – and address the loss of trees over past decades to storm damage, disease and construction – a Campus Tree Advisory Board has been established. The first project of the board, Replant Mount Oread, was launched in the spring to encourage donations for trees and involve the campus community in planting trees each spring.

Additional progress toward the goals of the plan is posted on the campus sustainability planning website.

Featured events throughout the week of Oct. 21-27 that focus on these and other initiatives include:

Tuesday, Oct. 23, noon-1:30 PM, Kansas Union Parlors Room
150 Years on the Hill: Award-winning landscape architect Jeffrey Bruce will be featured at this brownbag presentation on KU’s landscape and the Campus Heritage Plan. A brief walking tour of notable features in the campus landscape, including the first Replant Mount Oread project, will follow the presentation.

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., Kansas Union, Jayhawk Room
Campus Sustainability Day: A national broadcast, “Preparing Students for a Changing Climate,” will focus on how colleges and universities can prepare students for a changing climate, society and economy through sustainability education. The broadcast will be followed by an update on initiatives at KU, and a discussion about what we can do at KU, and what students would like to see in the curriculum.

Friday, Oct. 26, 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Center for Design Research
Sustainable Scholarship: Sustainability Research at KU: A symposium focused on sustainability-related research being conducted at KU will feature presentations that span the Bold Aspirations strategic initiative themes. Topics range from sustainability energy and transportation to connections between politics and environmental concerns.

Saturday, Oct. 27
Recycle and Blue: Student Senate and its campus partners will launch a new gameday recycling program in tailgating areas before the Homecoming game against Texas.

For a complete list of sustainability-related events taking place on campus this week, visit the Center for Sustainability website.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

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