Expanding Sustainability on Campus

Each of the Expanding Sustainability on Campus Task Force’s proposals would integrate advancement of environmental stewardship, conscious promotion of social justice and outstanding educational opportunities for our students.

View the task force report (pdf)

Status Key:
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  2. icon-complete task complete
  3. icon-delay task delayed
  4. icon-updates task details/updates

Status

Date

Task and Updates

Task Assignment

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Effective:
Spring 2015 

Representation of Sustainability Council at Administrative Council

Gregg Kvistad (Provost)

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Effective:
Summer 2015 

Evaluate reporting relationship between Center for Sustainability and University administration

UPDATE: The Sustainability Center now falls under the Business & Finance Division, reporting directly to Vice Chancellor Craig Woody.

Gregg Kvistad (Provost)

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Start date:
underway

Develop a sustainability inventory, including past, present and future projects, classes and internships

Inventory collection has started, collection form can be found here.

Sustainability Council

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Start date:
underway 

Explore the establishment of learning objectives for sustainability that are applicable across disciplines

As part of the Engaging Community planning process initiated in November 2014 and completed May 2015, Chancellor Chopp asked University of Denver Sustainability Council to “explore the establishment of learning objectives for sustainability that are applicable across disciplines.”

In the months since that time, the Sustainability Council, Curriculum & Research Committee has explored the campus wide learning objectives structure at the University of Denver and debated the wisdom including a sustainability learning objective.

On Thursday, February 18, 2016, the Sustainability Council unanimously adopted the following language for a campus wide sustainability learning outcome.

“Sustainability

Students understand the interconnectedness of individuals, societies, and ecosystems in identifying, understanding, and addressing issues of sustainability and recognize the roles that multiple academic disciplines, working together, and diverse perspectives play in identifying, understanding, and addressing issues of sustainability.”

The Council recommends that the sustainability learning outcome be included in both the Undergraduate Student Outcomes (approved by the Undergraduate Council on May 4 2007) and the Graduate-Professional Student Learning Outcomes (approved by Graduate Council, May 6, 2009).

We believe that inclusion of this sustainability learning outcome, with its emphasis on interdisciplinary academic work and problem-solving, will assist in furthering the University’s goals as set forth in DU IMPACT 2025: New Directions to Transform our Future.

Sustainability Council and deans

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Completed:
Winter 2016

Identify and map a broad coalition of campus partners with complimentary objectives

Identified, and mapped by broad objectives.

Partners

 

 

Community partnerships

  • GrowHaus
  • Re:Vision
  • Ela Family Farm
  • Leffler Family Farm
  • CSU Extension
  • Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee
  • Denver Department of Public Works
  • Denver Office of Economic Development
  • Denver Office of Sustainability
  • Denver City Council
  • Denver Water
  • Xcel Energy
  • RTD
  • Transportation Solutions
  • Bike Denver
  • Bike Together
  • BCycle
  • Denver Regional Council of Governments
  • Zipcar
  • Car2Go
  • Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado
  • Sierra Club
  • Staples, Grainger

Sustainability Council

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Start date:
Summer 2015 

Explore ways to make University grounds more sustainable, such as planting of multiple species of trees/shrubs in groupings or converting peripheral grass zones to xeriscaping show-casings

New plantings around AAC, Sie Center, and STEM building include perennial grass plantings, tree groupings, with much lower percentages of irrigated turf.

Additional planting proposals are in process.

Craig Woody (Business and Financial Affairs)

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Start date:
Summer 2015 

Consolidate bidding and centralized purchasing for common products and processes

  • Discussed this with Chris Bennett (shared services) for purchasing portal
  • Training on sustainable purchasing prepared for HR Staff Development
  • Sustainability Pathway
  • Working with Sodexo on common product purchasing for disposable items, local/sustainable food items
  • Developing recommended list of sustainable items and vendors

Craig Woody (Business and Financial Affairs)

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Start date:
Summer 2015

Create external funding mechanism for University gifts and donations to support sustainability actions

Presented to Advancement major gift staff identifying projects that lend themselves to donor funding.

The Board’s Investment Committee created a carbon-free fund as a separate sleeve of the endowment for targeted gifts from donors.

Created a unit and personal donation option for offsetting carbon footprint from travel.

Armin Afsahi (University Advancement)

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Start date:
Summer 2015

Explore pilot programs that address access, equity, and justice, including:

  • Partnership in Metropolitan Greenspaces Alliance – an exploration of the University’s participation in the Alliance which would provide every resident in Denver access to open space.  The initial phase is focused on youth engagement.
    • DU has agreed to be the academic partner on this project (now called the Denver Nature Alliance), and has committed matching funds
      • DNA partners include the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Botanical Gardens, the Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Lands, and the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute
    • Faculty participation will be solicited at 2016 Provost’s Conference
  • Multimodal Transportation Hub – consideration of using the space under the RTD parking structure at the north end of campus as the “last mile” of bicycle commuting as an alternative to automobile commuting.
    • Received $200,000 DRCOG grant (in partnership with Transportation Solutions) for planning for the revitalization and energizing of the University of Denver Station and the Colorado Station
      • Provided matching funds on the grant
    • Four classes and one afterschool program from four academic units (Geography, Law, Media Film and Journalism Studies, and the Writing Program) are focusing on this project
    • City of Denver Office of Economic Development, the Mayors Office, and Councilman Kashman have become active participants
  • Solar partnerships and Energy fund revitalization – the B&F division has extended the same criteria for evaluation (i.e., source of funding, return on investment, sensitivity testing of key assumptions) used by its Energy Engineer and Controller’s Office for solar-related proposals brought forward by the Sustainability Council and/or student groups.
    • Fall quarter, B&F evaluated a proposal brought forward by DU Solar student group
    • Winter quarter, Energy Engineer and Sustainability Coordinator met with solar and energy consultant to work on building partnerships with other entities in Denver
    • Winter quarter, Interdisciplinary graduate class on solar for DU offered by K.K. DuVivier, including graduate students from law, business, and engineering, working closely with the campus Energy Engineer and Sustainability Coordinator
  • DU Farm to Table Initiative – an effort to broaden the Real Food Challenge – offering students 20% of food options on campus that are locally and sustainably certified – to options that facilitate the development of local food production and distribution networks,
    • Interdisciplinary team of graduate and upper class students working through the Center for Sustainability on this initiative
    • College Food Challenge planned in March with the Denver Office of Economic Development to examine issues of local purchasing for universities across the Front Range
    • Food System Working Group established with students and Sodexo to involve students further in the purchasing process and the Real Food Challenge reporting

Craig Woody (Business and Financial Affairs)

Expanding Sustainability on Campus
  • Chad King (co-chair)
  • Rebecca Powell (co-chair)
  • Fred Cheever
  • Nathan Duval (student)
  • Stu Halsall
  • Mark McCarthy (student)
  • Tom McGee
  • Sarah Schmidt
  • Mandy Sigmund