University Council on Sustainability
In March 2008, President Seligman issued a statement supporting the creation of a University Council on Sustainability. Following some initial organizational meetings that spring, the Council began its five-year term at the start of the Fall 2008 semester.
The Council grew from the earlier work of two temporary bodies: the Sustainability Task Force (January-October 2007) and the University Council on Environmental Sustainability (November 2007-February 2008).
This five-year Council will:
- provide an annual review each January of our progress with respect to the current and future operational initiatives described above;
- describe University-wide faculty and student academic initiatives with respect to environmental sustainability;
- establish an ongoing comprehensive catalogue of sustainability initiatives at the University and develop a website and other media to communicate the University's sustainability initiatives; and
- recommend new initiatives that the University might undertake in areas of environmental sustainability, including speakers, forums, or similar means of University conversation.
The Sustainability Task Force, chaired by Senior Vice President Ronald Paprocki, inventoried University environmental sustainability initiatives in its operations, articulated a Statement of Commitment to Environmental Sustainability Principles, and identified 25 specific ongoing or proposed sustainability initiatives in the areas of energy, waste management, recycling, purchasing, business practices, land use, building design, construction, transportation, parking, and dining services.
The University Council on Environmental Sustainability was charged with developing a University-wide vision for environmental sustainability that also addressed academic and research initiatives, reviewing the Task Force's 25 initiatives, and making recommendations regarding their implementation and sequencing.
In February of 2008, the Council reported to President Seligman; the report focused on four basic areas:
- First, the Council refined and prioritized the list of the 25 operational initiatives. The Council proposed a specific timeframe for implementing these initiatives, to establish and develop metrics for gauging progress on current and future University-wide initiatives, and to link operational initiatives to academic programs through faculty supervised projects. Given the need for initiative-by-initiative review of certain of these projects and the potential significant costs involved, this represented a major area of the Council’s recommendations.
- Second, the Council proposed a provisional Vision for Sustainability, providing a starting point for a longer-term, University-wide conversation to result in an integrated roadmap for sustainability at the University of Rochester.
- Third, the Council endorsed and modified the Task Force’s Statement of Commitment and Environmental Sustainability.
- Fourth, the Council recommended the creation of the current University Council on Sustainability to provide integrated advice on all matters relating to sustainability including research, curriculum, campus operations, and community.