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KU releases progress, priorities for next 5 years of sustainability goals

Monday, November 14, 2016

LAWRENCE — The Center for Sustainability has released an update to the Campus Sustainability Plan, Building Sustainable Traditions, which highlights achievements at the University of Kansas over the past five years and outlining new priorities.

Five years ago this fall, KU released a comprehensive plan for advancing sustainability on its Lawrence campus. Commissioned by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in summer 2010, the KU Campus Sustainability Plan was the result of dedication from more than 150 faculty, staff and students working together to envision what a KU that embraced sustainability practices and principles throughout all areas of campus could look like.

Since its release in fall 2011, the Campus Sustainability Plan has guided the advancement of sustainability goals across nine key areas of campus: administration, development and planning; curriculum and research; student life; energy; the built environment; campus grounds; procurement; waste; and transportation. Just as these goals touch every area of campus, the faculty, staff and student champions who have carried this work forward represent diverse disciplines, unique campus functions and a wide array of talent and expertise.

The many accomplishments of the last five years:

  • Creating a new staff position focused on energy conservation behaviors among building users
  • Launching an undergraduate sustainability certificate geared around experiential learning
  • Establishing Replant Mount Oread and the Prairie Acre Restoration Project, efforts to protect and enhance natural and historical campus landscapes
  • Forming a partnership between KU Athletics and KU Recycling to provide recycling and composting at events at Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse
  • Developing a campus bike plan to guide future infrastructure and safety measures
  • Incorporating numerous sustainability considerations into campus building standards.

In addition to celebrating the progress of the last five years, KU is marking the five-year anniversary of Building Sustainable Traditions by releasing revised strategies for approaching those goals yet to be accomplished or that remain ongoing. Among them, priorities for the next five years have been identified and were determined based on momentum, opportunity for greatest effect and existence of overlapping campuswide goals. Some of these priorities:

  • Incorporate sustainability and diversity considerations into purchasing decisions
  • Expand food waste diversion programs in operations and at events
  • Showcase campus research related to sustainability
  • Strengthen relationships with campus departments and organizations addressing service, equity and inclusion
  • Increase multi-model transportation options
  • Monitor renewable prices to determine when investment in solar becomes cost effective

A list of key achievements, priorities for 2016-2021, and the revised strategies of the Campus Sustainability Plan, along with the full revised text of the plan, can be found on the Center for Sustainability Website.

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