Campus News

UGA Sustainability Working Group releases report

UGA Sustainability Working Group releases report: Group highlights academic, student and operational efforts; calls for central strategic approach

Athens, Ga. – A working group of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Georgia has released a report cataloguing the university’s efforts to promote sustainability and making proposals to enhance those efforts across campus. The group was charged by President Michael F. Adams and Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration, and the report was presented to them on Oct. 14. Kathy Pharr, assistant vice president for finance and administration, chaired the group.

“I want to thank the members of the working group for coming together and producing such a comprehensive report,” said Burgess, noting that the 69-page document catalogued more than 60 degree programs related to sustainability, more than 300 faculty members from academic departments across campus with research interests in relevant fields, and a series of critical accomplishments in building design and operations.

The report recommends many ways to promote better communications and tell the story of how sustainability is modeled by the university’s faculty, staff, and students. To that end, the report recommends that sustainability be incorporated into revisions of UGA’s strategic plan, which are being developed by a committee under the leadership of William K. Vencill of the department of crop and soil sciences.

The committee also recommends a series of strategic communication initiatives to bring together those with an interest in sustainability both on- and off-campus, including forums for faculty and students from different departments and universities across the state.

“I have learned a great deal from this report and intend to study its recommendations very carefully,” Adams said. “I have asked Dr. Bill Vencill to consider sustainability and how it might be worked into the university’s strategic plan as a broad goal for the university.

“Second, I am going to ask the provost and the senior vice president for finance and administration to review the sustainability group report and recommendations being drafted by the Odum School of Ecology. In addition, the student proposal for a green fee is being considered by the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee this fall. I will announce a final set of decisions on how sustainability will be manifest at UGA in January.”

Only a few copies of the report will be printed to save paper, but it is accessible online.

Adams said that “learning how to meet our present needs without impairing the ability of future generations to meet theirs is a central challenge for our society in the 21st century, and universities have a significant role to play in addressing this set of questions.”