President Carter releases NU System sustainability measures

University of Nebraska President Ted Carter has released a new set of sustainability measures for the NU System, drawn from input and ideas from an 80-member team of faculty, staff and students from across the campuses.

The system-wide set of targets – a supplement to existing sustainability plans on the campuses – includes goals for increasing engagement and collaboration in sustainability efforts, using resources responsibly and continuing to integrate sustainability practices in facilities and procurement work where appropriate.

The goals were developed from more than 100 ideas generated by the President’s Sustainability Council, a group convened last year by Carter to help elevate and unite sustainability efforts across the system. Creation of system-wide sustainability measures is part of Carter’s Five-Year Strategy.

“Our goal is to be the best possible stewards of the resources entrusted to us – both natural and fiscal. I am very pleased to share these sustainability measures that reflect the common-sense values of our university and state,” Carter said.

“Our students, faculty, staff and community members have brought great energy and engagement to this effort, and I am thankful for their leadership. We will continue to work together with all Nebraskans to become even more effective and efficient in our use of our precious resources.”

The full sustainability document is available here. Goals include:

  • Fund and hire student interns across the NU System to support sustainability outreach and engagement efforts.
  • Host an annual Sustainability Summit, rotated among the campuses. The inaugural summit was held this fall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Innovation Campus.
  • Establish a systemwide award to recognize excellence in sustainability. Details and application information on the inaugural award will be released this fall.
  • Encourage re-use initiatives that reduce waste and support students, like “career closets” and programs that allow students to easily donate or recycle items when moving out of the residence halls rather than throw them away.
  • Set systemwide targets for reducing energy use, water use and waste, and publicize annual progress toward the targets.
  • Incorporate sustainability best practices into facilities planning; for example, prioritizing energy efficiency in university buildings to save costs.
  • Promote more local purchases by adding a designation for “local” and/or “sustainable” products in the university’s procurement catalog.
  • Develop strategies with vendors to reduce packaging waste.

Members of the university community are invited to share systemwide sustainability ideas by emailing the University of Nebraska System at this link.

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