University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Description/achievement of initiative
A promise to take action now or in the future
Sustainability has always been a priority for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2008, the campus formalized its dedication to sustainability by signing on to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Illinois also established the Sustainability Council and the Office of Sustainability to oversee sustainability related initiatives on the campus. The Council, chaired by the Chancellor, determines strategic priorities for the campus. The Office of Sustainability operationalizes these priorities. Through these two entities, lllinois has set its goal to become locally relevant and globally preeminent by transforming the campus into a living-learning laboratory for sustainability, while simultaneously helping societies around the world meet the challenges associated with a sustainable future. The scope of sustainability related activities encompasses all facets of the University’s mission: learning, discovery, and engagement. In 2010, the University developed a formal climate action plan, called iCAP, or the Illinois Climate Action Plan, which provides a roadmap to a more sustainable campus.
A commitment to transparency through annual reporting on progress
The Office of Sustainability prepares a progress report each semester, which is available on-line through the office website. The university also reports annually on sustainability efforts to the state of Illinois through its Green Government Coordinating Council. In addition, the university submits regular reports to the ACUPCC, including updated greenhouse gas emissions inventories every other year and progress reports on campus actions on the alternate year. The Office of Sustainability will also develop a portal for sharing up-to-date information on progress toward the many goals associated with the iCAP.
A description of time-bound targets/goals that can be measured for success
The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) has set ambitious goals to make the campus more sustainable. These include goals for reducing energy and water use, reaching carbon neutrality, building greener buildings, and infusing sustainability into academic curriculum and campus culture.
Our campus is on target to meet and even exceed the major goals included in iCAP.
- Reduce energy consumption: 20% by 2015
- Reduce energy emissions: 15% by 2015
- Conserve water: 20% by 2015
- Divert waste: increase to 75% by 2020
- Set green standards for new buildings: LEED Platinum by 2015
- Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
- Integrate sustainability into the campus culture by celebrating Earth Week during spring and Sustainability Week during fall
- Organize an annual teaching workshop for faculty and instructors on how to infuse sustainability into the curriculum
Achieving these goals requires action by numerous units on campus and close collaboration with local government and community organizations. The Office of Sustainability is a campus-level entity responsible for operationalizing the key sustainability priorities of campus. Some of its key partners in the effort include the Sustainability Council, which determines strategic priorities for campus, and Facilities & Services, which has a sustainability coordinator and manages the entire campus operations system. The Office of Sustainability also works closely with the Student Sustainability Committee, University Housing, Campus Recreation and the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet), a campus-community partnership for sustainability.