November 05, 2010

University’s Sustainability Efforts Make the Grade


The Big Belly compactors are a visible part of
Case Western Reserve's sustainability effort.

From local produce in its dining halls to solar trash compactors across campus, Case Western Reserve University is working hard toward a sustainable and–eventually–climate-neutral campus.
 Last week, the campus community got a little feedback on all the university’s efforts when the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card was released. Case Western Reserve’s sustainability grade improved from a B- to a B+. 

“On paper, a grade increase from B- to B+ may seem incremental, however the university is engrossed in a detailed Climate Action Plan process — taking stock and developing sustainability efforts across all campus divisions,” says Linda Robson, the university's sustainability coordinator. “Each year, we get better at understanding what sustainability looks like for Case Western Reserve and at identifying the opportunities that sustainability can offer our research, learning, and operations.”

Robson is helping to lead the Climate Action Plan process that scored the university big points on the report card. The university’s Climate Action Plan, due to be released next year, will recommend policies and practices to reduce the institution’s environmental footprint. The effort stems from President Barbara R. Snyder’s 2008 signing of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Other areas in which the university excelled were food and recycling, green building and investment priorities.

To help the campus achieve its sustainability goals, the university is urging individuals to identify areas to reduce their environmental impact. Case Western Reserve has partnered with Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company that currently employs more than 100 Case Western Reserve alumni, to offer the Accenture Eco Challenge. The brief online survey, open to the entire campus community, helps individuals assess their climate footprint and identify ways to reduce energy consumption. In addition, survey-takers can take the survey multiple times to track progress and see how they compare to others. 

“We’re working hard to measure our progress,” says Provost W. A. “Bud” Baeslack. “The effort to move toward climate neutrality and sustainability depends on all of us.”

Posted by: David Wilson, November 5, 2010 10:03 AM | News Topics:

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