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Posted on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

University of Michigan to announce new sustainability goals

By Kellie Woodhouse

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman will announce a new set of sustainability goals for the university during EarthFest next week.

The speech, which will be given at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Hatcher Graduate Library, will “alter the face of campus and, more important, the character of U-M teaching, research, operations and public engagement,” according to a news release issued on Thursday.


Melanie Maxwell |

Andy Berki, manager of U-M’s Office of Campus Sustainability, said the speech marks “something that has never been done before” on campus.

But the university is releasing few details about the speech.

University spokesman Jim Erickson said “we’re really holding these things under wraps until the announcement date.”

Erickson did say that the goals were a result of a two-year collaborative effort.

“More than 500 students, faculty and staff participated in this two-year process of defining the goals,” he said.

As a part of that process, a Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment report was created. In that report, an energy team suggests reducing emissions by 25 percent and purchasing hybrid buses.

According to Don Scavia, director of U-M's Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, some of the goals relate to transportation and the reduction of greenhouse gases and waste.

In the report, a food committee also suggested that the university remove trays from dining halls, replace bottled water with tap water and increase composting efforts. Additionally, the committee wanted the university to obtain 20 percent of its food from local sources by 2020.

Other universities throughout the nation are also embracing sustainability on their campuses. University of California at San Diego has installed dozens of solar panels, U.C. Santa Cruz has gotten rid of bottled water and dining trays and University of Washington has three farms on campus and an extensive recycling center.

Additionally, with the iPad, Nook and Kindle becoming increasingly popular with students, some campuses are trying to become "paperless," including Drake University in Iowa.

At U-M there's long been a debate about providing an alternate from cars for transportation between North and Central campus. Trolleys, an aerial tram or a light rail have all been discussed.

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But it's unclear whether aspects of the U-M plan will be similar to other colleges' efforts.

"It's going to be pretty impressive," Scavia said.

According to a project report by the OCS, U-M has more than three-dozen sustainability projects underway, including the development of a sustainability master plan for design and construction and a wide-scale effort to make university labs more sustainable.

The announcement can be watched online here.

Also on Tuesday, EarthFest will be taking place on the Diag.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


G. Orwell

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Although more liberal believe in AGW (numbers dwindling by th day), people will be surprised to know that George Bush also supports man-made global warming. I am sure he was in line to get some of the carbon tax monies. It's certain people at the top (both end of the political spectrum) deceiving the masses for their benefit. We are like cattle to them.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Just to give you a glimpse of how colossally stupid this committee is, they recommend light rail from North Campus to Central Campus. In terms of environmental cost, this would be roughly equal to giving every student a personal semi-truck to haul between the campuses for transportation. This liberal love affair with commuter trains is front and center of a religion that has very little to do with saving the planet, and everything to do with thought control.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

How about doing an audit of degree programs to see which ones are useful and which are a waste of resources? Most of the ones in the ethnic grievances industry could be shut down, for instance. At the very least don't subsidize them. Let the trust funders waste their own money if they want. As for climate change, what you have to understand is just how big of an authoritarian streak runs through academia. Who says what is far more important than whether what is said has a basis in reality. If the right people say that the tiny fraction of 1% of the atmosphere that is CO2 (391ppm) is causing climate change, then it is. Who are you to say otherwise? After all, an overwhelming majority of scientists agree and they'll kill your funding if you don't. Also, mercury dental fillings are safe, whole grains are good for you, etc.

G. Orwell

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

@ just a voice, If 99% of scientists support AGW, please name just few of the scientists. Your claim that 99% of scientist support AGW is rediculous and you have fallen for the propoganda. Absolutely no evidence to support your claim. If your claim is true, you should be able to name scientists that support AGW. I will wait for your response. Time is running.

G. Orwell

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

@ just a voice again, According to your 99% claim, if 31,000 scientists deny AGW, then 3,100,000 (31,000/1%) support AGW. Do you see how ridiculous your claim is. Who are the 3,100,000 scientists?

G. Orwell

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

@Ross again, &quot;CERN is a nuclear research facility.... they do not study climate change.&quot; That may be true but they certainly have the resources to study climate and I am sure they have more than enough particle physicists to study the sun's rays on our planet. That is exactly what they did. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Phil Jones, IPCC scientist behind the scam and responsible for earth's temperature readings, ADMITS that the earth has been cooling since mid 1990's. Therefore, fear mongering about ice caps melting and 20 feet sea level rises is not a problem. Yet, Al Gore and his friends still want carbon taxes. You give him your money and save us the trouble. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

just a voice

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Hey, if they really want to make a difference then we need to get the transient UM students to start recycling in their rental properties. The amount of waste generated is disgusting, and if you walk around any student neighborhood on trash day you will see how big the problem is there. We should take a cue from Toronto, where you pay by weight to get your trash taken out, but recycling is free. And for G Orwell. You are wrong. This isn't a debate. The scientific community is in consensus that this is real, something like 99% of scientist agree. You clearly aren't even doing your research about the propaganda your using. The petition project has been criticized for having less then 1% of the signers actually having a background in climatology. I actually googled to of the names on the list; one was a politician the other a CEO of a company with a forbes profile. Here is a link to an article that debunks the project; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I only hope that the UM scientific community would get together and publicly say where they stand so you can see how the lies you've been reading to support your opinion are so totally wrong. Sadly you are so likely to believe (like a religion) that you won't actually research what your reading (oh, like most of the papers written by scientist come from people who are being financed by oil companies). Corporations did the same thing with tobacco and cancer.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Yes, 99% of &quot;scientists&quot; who have been approved by the East Anglia &quot;peer review&quot; process believe in the religion of ACC. And the pope is Catholic, too. Funny how that works.

Tom Whitaker

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

Suggested goals: 1. Provide commuter buses with coffee and wifi instead of building and expanding parking structures. 2. Build (or at least encourage) more staff and faculty housing close to campus. Stop buying up houses and tearing them down. 3. Use existing parking and building resources more efficiently.

G. Orwell

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

@Ross, &quot;I can guarantee you that the vast majority of professors at the University believe in the correlation between our emissions and climate change. YOU are in the minority, and sorry, but as far as almost all scientists worldwide can tell, it's not an enlightened position.&quot; Prove it. List some names of scientists. Please do not make claims without any evidence to back it up. I will list names of scientists. Here is the Petition Project. Over 31,000 scientists DENY man-made global warming. I will wait for your list of scientists. I bet you cannot come up with even 100. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;It's a desperate one, carved out to provide relief for your guilt, and keep the big power, big oil companies firmly in charge of delivering our energy and TAKING OUR MONEY in a monopolistic fashion.&quot; For your information, the whole carbon tax and carbon trading scheme was thought up by Ken Lay of Enron and Al Gore. If you did not know, Al Gore is one of the largest shareholders of Occedental Petrolium. Not to mention a hypocrit. He tells everyone to conserve while he has several mansions. He also tolds us that NAFTA would be &quot;good for America.&quot; Please do not be so naive. Scammers will fool you every time.

Guinea Pig in a Tophat

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

&quot;In the report, a food committee also suggested that the university remove trays from dining halls...&quot; I hope they don't do that, those made for great little sleds.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

And kudos to the University for making a continued effort towards sustainability... but MUCH MORE is needed, RIGHT NOW. Why are all the sports teams &amp; coaches drinking from plastic bottles of water at every game and practice?!? Why are the new big house screens on 24/7, even when the stadium is empty? Thats gotta be several dozens of kilowatts right there. Why are all the lights on in the stadium towers all night long? And in all the empty and LOCKED classrooms on campus? Time to get real, U-M and Mary Sue.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

CERN is a nuclear research facility.... they do not study climate change. Saying that our recent climate change is due only to the sun is a far less proven theory than the clear correlations that can be drawn to our industrial emissions. And of course power plants, ships, cars and factories all emit far more than pure CO2. They all spew carcinogenic compounds and particulates as well. So reducing or capping CO2 emissions is still a productive way to improve human health on this planet, whether you believe the tie to global warming or not. Do you really think the science describing the greenhouse effect is flawed? It's pretty plain and simple to most anyone with an education in the sciences, which it sounds like you may not have. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of professors at the University believe in the correlation between our emissions and climate change. YOU are in the minority, and sorry, but as far as almost all scientists worldwide can tell, it's not an enlightened position. It's a desperate one, carved out to provide relief for your guilt, and keep the big power, big oil companies firmly in charge of delivering our energy and TAKING OUR MONEY in a monopolistic fashion. The premise that scientists believe in human induced global warming solely to take money for themselves is so ludicrous that I shall not comment further.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

The vast majority of professors at the University are extreme liberals, and ACC is part of that religion. We do not know what causes climate change, or that it is harmful for the earth. We do know that it is getting warmer, and that climate change is harmful for people who cannot migrate even 100 feet because they have built permanent houses.

G. Orwell

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

It all sounds great. I am all for conservation and locally grown foods. I just hope the U does not pontificate about reducing CO2 to save the earth. I am sure there are many smart professors at the U that know CO2 has nothing to do with AGW and that CO2 is an essential gas plants need to grow. Recently, CERN came to the same conclusion. That it is the sun causing the fluctuation in our climate. Not humans. The whole AGW scam is nothing more than an attempt to steal money from the public through carbon taxes.