News & Events
UM MEETS 2015 EMISSIONS GOAL AND SHARES ANNUAL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
Missoula, MT, April 23, 2015– The University of Montana announced yesterday in its annual sustainability report card that it has successfully met its 2015 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. As a 2007 charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), UM established interim emissions reduction goals leading up to its 2020 carbon neutrality target. The first of these goals is to reduce campus wide emissions 10% below 2007 emissions levels by 2015, a target it has successfully reached.
“I am proud to be part of a campus community that understands the value of investing in energy conservation and efficiency. We have some incredible sustainability leaders at UM-- administrators, faculty, staff, and students-- and the fact that we have met our first climate action goal speaks to their leadership,” said UM Sustainability Coordinator, Eva Rocke.
The bulk of the emissions reductions come from energy efficiency and building improvement projects across campus. UM has invested substantially in the efficiency of its buildings over the last 3 years with some buildings undergoing large-scale retrocommissioning and systems upgrades. These improvements result in a smaller emissions footprint and substantial utilities savings. Energy conservation accounts for about 8.5% of the reduction in emissions. The last 1.5% needed to reach the target has been met with a small purchase of carbon offsets.
“The University of Montana has been a long time leader for sustainability in higher education, and meeting our 2015 emissions reduction target shows that our philosophical commitment has been met with operational change. I am inspired by the cooperative work our campus has accomplished and look forward to seeing how UM continues its journey toward carbon neutrality,” said UM Dining Assistant Director of Sustainability, Ian Finch.
UM will be purchasing a small number of carbon offsets, 746 metric tonnes worth, from two offset providers, NativeEnergy and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. One offsetting project is located in Culbertson, Montana and the other is in La Plata County, Colorado. Funds to purchase the offsets were contributed by UM Dining, the geography, environmental studies, and philosophy departments, and by UM students through the student sustainability fee.
This achievement, along with several other sustainability initiatives, is highlighted in the university’s annual sustainability report card, released to campus and the community on Earth Day. The report card’s content is gathered by UM’s sustainability staff and is endorsed by the Sustainable Campus Committee.
Other highlights noted in the report include the installation of a small solar array on the roof of Campus Recreation, the announcement that ASUM Transportation will offset its 2015 bus-related emissions for the first time, and the receipt of a $730k NSF grant by Missoula College’s energy technology program to further engage Native American and high school students in STEM education.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Rocke, Eva at 406.243.4323. or email at Eva.firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAMPUS THRIFT -- SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS!
Move Out week on university campuses is overwhelming in a lot of ways, one of them being the volume of trash, furniture, and miscellaneous items that end up in dumpsters and curbside as students vacate their rooms and houses. To address this issue and to prevent perfectly useful items from ending up in the landfill, UM students and campus partners are coordinating Campus Thrift.
From May 13 - 17 (10am-7pm) there will be 6 on-campus and 2 off-campus locations for students to take unwanted items, everything from furniture (no mattresses) and clothes to books and small appliances. Once Move Out week has concluded, a yard sale on May 20 (noon-7pm) on the Mansfield Mall (between the UC and library) will provide campus and community members the opportunity to purchase any of the items that were collected. Anything left over after the sale will be put in storage for the fall, at which point another sale will happen, with the hope that incoming students will need to purchase fewer items to furnish their residences.
If you are interested in volunteering for any part of this campaign, please fill out the volunteer information form. If you have questions about the event, drop-off locations, and items to be collected, please email email@example.com.
HOW "GREEN" IS YOUR COURSE?
Several UM faculty and staff have been working on developing a tool to help faculty "green" their courses' footprints and give themselves a score based on criteria like paper use related to the class, energy-conscientious behaviors during the course, and more. Currently, courses that are taught at UM can be assessed by the faculty who teach them by completing the assessment in Moodle called "Green Teaching," which can be found in the left hand navigation bar when signed in to UMOnline.
PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY ON THE MAP
If you find yourself scrolling the UM homepage and want an interactive sustainability experience, check out the new UM interactive map! The new map can be accessed HERE and includes live energy data from campus buildings with smart meters, the locations of recycling stations around campus, bike racks, and the locations of renewable energy technology. Take the virtual UM sustainability tour!
A major part of the campus sustainability conversation that gets omitted is the part about our institutional investment practices. In UM's case, the UM Foundation manages the investment of private funds in order to provide monetary support for the mission and vision of the University of Montana.
REINVEST MONTANA is a group of student activists encouraging the UM Foundation to divest its endowment from fossil-fuel related companies and to REINVEST in more sustainable businesses and projects. Check out the group's article in a recent Missoula Independent HERE.
ENERGY AUDIT UPDATE
The first major round of energy audits is complete. Audits of this type had not been done on UM’s campus for 15 years, and the projected energy saving potentials are enormous. To learn more about the audits, click here.