The University of Arizona

UA Creates New Campus Sustainability Units

By Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, University Communications | October 19, 2010

The campus sustainability trio: the President's Advisory Council on Environmental Sustainability, the Office of Sustainability and the student-led Green Fund Committee.

Key members of the campus sustainability team from the left: Chad Travis, Joe Abraham, center and Lon Huber on the right.
Key members of the campus sustainability team from the left: Chad Travis, Joe Abraham, center and Lon Huber on the right.

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The University of Arizona has created the President's Advisory Council on Environmental Sustainability, the Office of Sustainability and the student-led Green Fund Committee.

The campus sustainability trio will ensure the coordinated participation of students, faculty, staff and administrators in maintaining the UA's leadership in environmental sustainability while ensuring the Arizona Board of Regents' approved tuition resources are dedicated to campus design, student engagement, operations, education, research and outreach.

Students were pivotal in gaining support and approval from the regents to dedicate a portion of UA tuition to sustainability efforts. Through the dedicated funds, a director of the Office of Sustainability will be announced soon.

UA sustainability coordinator Joe Abraham will help guide and facilitate the University's efforts and ensure the funds will bolster sustainability efforts by students, faculty and staff.

"Because this additional financial support is a direct result of our students' efforts and will be born through their tuition, it is critical that we have a structure in place that maximizes the value, transparency and accountability of the funding," UA President Robert N. Shelton said.

The UA's announcement comes on the eve of Campus Sustainability Day,

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a national effort founded in 2002 as part of the Society for College and University Planning's early efforts—working with Second Nature—to support cross-departmental, cross-disciplinary, cross-functional, integrated campus planning for sustainability.

A campus sustainability transition team headed the effort to determine the new campus sustainability structures and made recommendations for committee and council membership, operating principals and missions. The transition team was co-chaired by Melissa Vito, vice president for student affairs, and Andrew Comrie, a climatologist and associate vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College.

The missions of the three sustainability units are as follows:

President's Advisory Council on Environmental Sustainability

  • Provides comprehensive guidance and advice to the president on high-level issues regarding the UA's leadership in environmental sustainability as it pertains to campus design, student engagement, operations, education, research and outreach
  • Identifies University-wide sustainability priorities and establishes short and long-term goals and working groups to accomplish goals
  • Works with a separate sustainability fund allocation committee to align the committee's project funding decisions with the University-wide sustainability priorities identified by the council
  • Advises a University-wide Office of Sustainability to execute and successfully accomplish projects and programs aligned with the priorities and short and long-term goals identified by the council

Office of Sustainability

  • Coordinates with advisory council co-chairs and members on University-wide priorities, office plans, and executing the council's vision
  • Brings together formal and informal working groups
  • Coordinates with allocation committee and other stakeholders to support the development of project funding proposals from across the University
  • Works with University units and student groups to improve coordination of sustainability projects and programs across the University system
  • Supports activities of the sustainability caucus
  • Collects information for preparing University-wide sustainability reports and participating in University sustainability rating and ranking programs
  • Ensures effective communication strategies for the University community and external audiences and that serve the interests of the advisory council, allocation committee, the office and the UA
  • Identifies and develops external funding opportunities in coordination with appropriate University units

Green Fund Committee

  • Regularly sets funding priorities and allocation strategies coordinated with established University priorities
  • Develops and implements strategy for communicating to University community about funding opportunities, decisions and other allocation committee activities
  • Creates and implements process for soliciting, accepting, reviewing and funding project proposals with clear and accessible guidelines and coordinated with appropriate University offices
  • Accounts for funds received, allocated and held

The advisory council is comprised of a mix of administrators, senior faculty members, students, staff and community members with term limits and will work to coordinate with the Office of Sustainability.

The Green Fund Committee, however, is comprised of 10 voting members – all students, with staff and administrator advisors. 

Students appointed to the Green Fund Committee include:

  • Lon Huber, honors student and chair, graduate student in business administration
  • Chad Travis, vice chair, undergraduate pre-business major
  • Matthew Scholz, honors student and an agricultural and biosystems engineer and environmental engineering graduate student
  • Spencer Sussman, a natural resources graduate student
  • Garrett Voge, an honors student and an undergraduate pre-business major
  • Polly Juang, an honors student and an undergraduate engineering management student
  • Caleb Weaver, an honors students and an undergraduate ecology and evolutionary biology 2 and geosciences major

The new campus sustainability units also will work to organize and expand sustainability initiatives and commitments already under way in business affairs, student affairs and academic units. The Office of Sustainability the Green Fund chairs and other sustainability leaders on campus also host a Facebook page that contains updates and information on new sustainability efforts on campus.

Contacts

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Joe Abraham

UA Sustainability Coordinator

520-621-2711

jabraham@email.arizona.edu