‘Blueprint for a Green Campus’ program has seen success entering its third year
he CU Environmental Center is stepping up efforts this year to save the university money in their Blueprint for a Green Campus sustainability campaign.
As of 2003, activities related to the plan were saving the university approximately $5.5 million per year, though the figure is likely higher now that energy costs have increased, said Dave Newport, director of the Environmental Center.
The plan aims to transform CU into a completely sustainable campus through what the Blueprint calls sustainability’s “three spheres”: environmental protection, social equity and fiscal prudence.
“The campus is already using less energy and making less of an environmental impact,” Newport said. “Our goal this year is to create awareness and support for the plan.”
Accomplishments of the Blueprint so far include making all student-funded buildings, such as the UMC, the Recreation Center and Wardenburg 100 percent wind-powered, Newport said.
CU Recycling has also neutralized all emissions from their vehicles through the DriveNeutral Colorado carbon exchange program, said Newport.
The CU Wind Challenge allows students to offset their energy usage by purchasing renewable energy credits used to fund the construction of wind power plants, according to the Wind Challenge website.
The Environmental Center is a UCSU cost center, which means that its budget is funded by student fees. Students have consistently voted to increase the Environmental Center’s budget, Newport said, illustrating the commitment that CU students have to the environment.
The Blueprint was first published in April 2000, but the 2006 version sets new and more ambitious goals for the university. Environmental goals include achieving “zero-climate impact” by 2025, reducing water use by five percent per year for the next five years, creating a “waste-free campus,” doubling recycling rates, reducing hazardous-waste generation rates, increasing pollution prevention and refining pest-management techniques, according to the Blueprint summary document, which is available through the Environmental Center.
Fiscal policies outlined in the Blueprint include offering incentives to promote cost-saving sustainability efforts and encouraging the purchasing of environmentally friendly, cost-competitive products and services. Educational and literacy efforts will create a culture of sustainability, which will result in cost-saving behavioral changes, according to the document.
The Blueprint also emphasizes the social outcomes of sustainability efforts and supports environmental justice initiatives. CU Students involved in the DriveNeutral Colorado program go door-to-door distributing compact fluorescent light bulbs and other energy-saving information in local low-income neighborhoods, Newport said.
The addition of an environmental literacy course into the core curriculum at CU is another goal of the Blueprint.
Newport encouraged students who would like to support the campaign to express that support to the administration and UCSU. There are also numerous volunteer opportunities at the Environmental Center.
“Whatever your passion, we have a place for you to work,” Newport said. “We really want to encourage both conversation and action.”