By Mary Reed
The Ohio University President's Advisory Council for Sustainability Planning will host an open forum Nov. 3 to solicit input on the goals of the university's Comprehensive Sustainability Plan, scheduled to be completed by July 2011.
"It will be a very open, transparent and participatory process," says Sonia Marcus, director of the Office of Sustainability. Students, staff and members of the Athens community are invited to attend the event.
The forum will solicit input specifically about the overarching goals of the plan. From there, working groups will convene, starting winter quarter 2010. The groups will prioritize and recommend strategies for reaching sustainability goals.
President Roderick McDavis signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, pledging Ohio University to climate neutrality. McDavis's Sustainability Council was originally charged with developing recommendations for a climate action plan by fall 2009 in accordance with the ACUPCC. The council applied for an extension to January 2010, but is now tabling the climate action plan in lieu of making it a portion of the larger sustainability plan.
Marcus is clear that the climate action plan called for by the ACUPCC is not being forgotten. "Climate neutrality will be one of the main goals of the sustainability plan because it has to be -- we've signed the climate commitment."
Marcus adds that the delay in the climate action plan is deliberate. "In order for a process to be participatory, in order for a process to be comprehensive, in order for a process to be transparent, all of those things take a significant amount of time," she says.
The president's Sustainability Council is charged with the development of the sustainability plan, which will include recommendations for prioritized goals and strategies for: academics and curriculum, low and no cost energy conservation, dining, transportation, procurement, energy infrastructure/utilities, fundraising and endowment, buildings and grounds.
The council will submit its recommendations to the president, the executive vice president and provost and the senior vice president for finance and administration, who will take further action on the recommendations as they deem appropriate.
According to Marcus, "These will be our marching orders."
The forum will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, in Grover E304.