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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

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Photo courtesy of: Office of Sustainability

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Annual Sustainability and Climate Action Report published


Thanks to the hard work of a variety of campus constituents, the Fiscal Year 2013 Sustainability and Climate Action Report is now available for public viewing online.

Energy Performance Contracting, comprehensive student surveying, institution-wide academic integration and regional campus triumphs are just a small sampling of the extraordinary sustainability initiatives that have taken place at Ohio University in the past year.  

"The Sustainability and Climate Action Report is a snapshot of the University's efforts toward implementation of the Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan over the course of the past fiscal year," explained Director of Sustainability Annie Laurie Cadmus. "There is so much happening in terms of sustainability right now that we couldn't possibly include everything in this report…which is a really exciting problem to have!"

Students, faculty and staff work year-round to aid in the implementation of the Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan (both of which can be found online). Weekly, a group called Sustainable Ohio University Leaders (SOUL) meets to discuss progress of specific benchmarks, identify current or potential contributors to next steps and troubleshoot problem areas.  

"It's a unique structure for a group, I think, because it's open to students, faculty and staff on campus so we're really trying to invite a diversity of individuals to participate," said Katie Lasco of SOUL. Lasco, a junior at OHIO, serves as the Sustainability Implementation Manager and oversees the constant development of SOUL as the implementation and reporting arm of the Sustainability and Climate Action Plans. SOUL offers a little something for everyone in its division of labor since "...each of the four sub-groups is responsible for a certain set of benchmarks within the Sustainability Plan" explains Lasco.  

All members of the campus community are invited to attend SOUL meetings, which occur each Wednesday during the academic year from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Baker University Center Room 236.

Another effort on campus that has advanced the presence of sustainability on campus is that of the Common Experience Project on Sustainability, a university-sponsored program aimed at increasing sustainability and ecological literacy of students, faculty and staff through curricular and co-curricular programming. A variety of CEPS-related efforts are highlighted in the report.

The most significant driver of greenhouse gas emission reductions outlined in the report is the work being accomplished by Facilities in their work to transition away from coal while simultaneously investing in a $28 million Energy Performance Contract which is expected to save upwards of $38 million in energy savings over the life of the upgrades.

The report was made available electronically on Oct. 1, 2013, one month ahead of the Office of Sustainability's original target date for publication, and will be included as a reporting item to the Board of Trustees this fall.

"We use an online platform for our publication of this report to intentionally make printing cumbersome. We want our readers to think critically about their real and perceived needs for having a hard copy of this document," said Cadmus. If anyone decides that a hard copy of the document is necessary, they can obtain a PDF by emailing such requests to sustainability@ohio.edu.