Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s Office of Sustainability has released its 2014 Campus Sustainability Report highlighting programs and initiatives that provide leadership in sustainability research, education, service and operations.
It will feature the accomplishments—and student-focused initiatives—at its “Fall 2014 Semester in Review: Creating a Culture of Sustainability at UGA” event on Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.
UGA’s 2014 Campus Sustainability Report provides campus-wide statistics and highlights individual programs from a variety of academic and operational units on campus, demonstrating the broad-reaching and interdisciplinary nature of sustainability initiatives at UGA.
The report consists of seven sections, beginning with sustainability-related strategic priorities in UGA’s 2020 Strategic Plan and specific examples of how the university is meeting these goals.
“As a land-grant and sea-grant institution, the University of Georgia is committed to the effective stewardship of our natural resources and to the advancement of campus sustainability,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead in the report’s foreword. “The university community continues to make progress in this area of strategic importance, and you will find many of our achievements and initiatives highlighted throughout this report.”
Over 660 faculty are involved in sustainability-related research in water resources, bioenergy, sustainable agriculture, climate change, obesity, ecosystem dynamics and sustainable forest management. Section 2 of the report highlights six engaging programs that increase the understanding of the interactions between human and natural systems.
Nearly 20 percent of all classes offered at UGA incorporate sustainability-related teaching and learning. Section 3 acknowledges the ongoing work of six programs providing academic credentials required for leadership toward a sustainable future.
UGA extends resources in the form of professional knowledge and expertise to help communities improve the quality of life in the state of Georgia and around the globe. In 2013, UGA students, faculty and staff performed more than 107,000 hours of community service. Section 4 spotlights six specific sustainability-related initiatives of the university.
Student engagement is the focus of Section 5, showcasing a broad range of educational, service and social opportunities designed to inspire and support students’ efforts to reduce their own environmental footprints and improve the campus, community and world around them.
UGA is creating an optimal student environment that functions as a living laboratory for sustainability. Operational policies and programs reduce energy and water use, promote recycling, reduce waste, construct high performance buildings and green spaces, provide alternative transportation options and improve the local ecosystem to create a healthy environment for all campus constituents. Section 6 highlights specific operational areas in which UGA is working to lessen its environmental footprint.
The final section of the report, focused on the Office of Sustainability, maps accomplishments related to its five-year history on the campus. Goals in academics, research, service and outreach, student engagement and campus operations are highlighted, and the ways those goals are being achieved are outlined.
“Members of the UGA community are addressing ‘grand challenges’ and immediate concerns to promote social well-being, ecologic integrity and economic security for all, locally and around the globe,” said Kevin Kirsche, the UGA director of sustainability, as he concludes the report. “We have a long way to go toward a sustainable UGA, and we’re making progress.”
To RSVP for the Fall 2014 Semester in Review, see http://bit.ly/semester-in-review-fall.