Advisory committee guides formation of university's inaugural Sustainability Strategic Plan; Website provides new resource for those interested in university's environmental efforts
MERCED — The University of California, Merced, has been a campus built from the ground up on principles of sustainability. That commitment to preserving the environment and its valuable resources took another step forward this week, when the university released its inaugural Sustainability Strategic Plan and formally unveiled its sustainability website, sustainability.ucmerced.edu .
The Sustainability Strategic Plan , developed by the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Sustainability — which has been meeting monthly since late 2007 — includes environmental goals in 12 areas, such as energy use and "green" construction, and lists objectives and milestones for each. The goals were determined with the UC mission of teaching, research and public service in mind.
"This plan outlines UC Merced's commitment to taking a leadership role in both sustainable development and construction and in sharing our progress openly as an educational contribution to society," said Steve Kang, UC Merced chancellor.
The plan spells out initial steps the campus is taking to realize its ambitious "Triple Zero Commitment," which calls for the university to use renewable sources to produce as much energy as it consumes, eliminate landfill waste altogether and produce zero net greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2020.
It also includes specific goals in areas like water use (creating a model water management plan), food production (reducing waste and buying local produce) and transportation on campus (reducing the carbon footprint of the campus' services), in addition to focusing substantial attention on outreach within the university community and outside it.
"This plan is our roadmap to a more sustainable future," said Jim Genes, special assistant to the vice chancellor of administration and co-chair of the sustainability advisory committee. "It sets challenging sustainability goals for our campus. We've reached some of them, but we still have much more to do."
The UC Merced sustainability website is organized much like the plan, with objectives and achievements for each listed goal. It also includes a list of sustainability-related awards the university has received and detailed LEED scorecards for each of the buildings on campus.
There are also links for students who want to get involved in environmental stewardship, as well as links to all of the university's major planning documents — including the Sustainability Strategic Plan — and sustainability-related podcasts and other outside links. The site is designed to be a valuable resource for people throughout the campus community — faculty, students and staff — as well as those outside of the university who are interested in UC Merced's environmental efforts and achievements.
"UC Merced has a lot to be proud of in the area of sustainability," said John Elliott, the university's assistant director of energy and sustainability and co-chair of the sustainability committee. "And the website is our first effort to share our goals more broadly."
MEDIA CONTACT: James Leonard