“We have been calculating our carbon footprint since 2007 when the university signed on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to work on becoming carbon neutral,” says Daniel Hart, UC’s sustainability coordinator. “By 2009 UC had published its first Climate Action Plan, which gave impetus to a lot of the programs we now have on campus. A lot has changed in the last decade.”
As part of the university’s newly updated Sustainability + Climate Action Plan — a progress and innovation report committed to increased campus sustainability — UC continues to move toward becoming completely carbon neutral within the next fifty years, strongly following the tenets of the innovation and urban impact agendas as part of UC’s Next Live Here strategic direction.
Within the plan, UC’s strategies for improving water conservation and greenhouse emissions also contain well-defined categories related to sustainability education, research, landscape and new LEED-certified infrastructure. All these elements were integral in helping UC earn recognition as one of the nation’s top green schools by the Princeton Review and tied for first place with Stanford University for water conservation.
The university also received a Gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).