Moving Toward a Sustainable Future at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

 

A.  INTRODUCTION

 

As members of the Faculty Senate ad hoc committee on the Talloires Declaration, we unanimously endorse the Declaration’s spirit and aims, while recognizing the need to adapt its specifics to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  Signing the Declaration and implementing its tenets would serve as a focal point for strategic discussion and action concerning sustainability and environmental literacy on campus.  We believe that implementing tenets of the Declaration will:

 

 1.    Involve UW-L in a series of effective partnerships for sustainable growth and development with other local governments and businesses (e.g., City of La Crosse, County of La Crosse, and Gundersen Lutheran) that also have signed comparable pacts to promote sustainability,

 

2.     Assist the university in obtaining a range of external funding to support UW-L’s institutional mission and its future sustainability efforts, and

 

3.     Serve as evidence to potential students and donors alike that UW-L is committed both to furthering students’ awareness of sustainability as a contemporary social challenge and to doing its part to help create a sustainable future for UW-L and its related communities.

 

Though many of our sister UW System campuses seem to be moving more quickly than UW-L to address environmental sustainability[1], we conclude that UW-L is currently addressing (and will likely continue to address) seven of the ten Talloires actions (Actions 1, 3, and 5-9).  We conclude that two of the three remaining actions, Actions 2 and 4, can be effectively implemented by interested faculty and staff, so that no additional financial resource expenditures are obligated (see section D - Assessment of Actions Specified in the Talloires Declaration). Action 10 calls for establishing a steering committee that would oversee implementation of the Talloires Declaration.  This committee would recommend future courses of action and seek resources needed to move the university further along the path toward environmental sustainability.

 

An important goal of adopting sustainability practices at UW-L is to provide future cost savings by reducing maintenance and energy expenditures in campus buildings.   In addition, funding opportunities that encourage use of sustainable construction activities are now available and will likely continue to increase.  For example, support provided by the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) now considered in Congress would provide substantial funding opportunities for universities.

 

B.  Committee Recommendations

 

1.     The ad hoc committee recommends that Chancellor Gow sign the Talloires Declaration, indicating that UW-L embraces the spirit and intent of this declaration.

 

2.     Consistent with Action 10 of this declaration, the committee also recommends (a) that Chancellor Gow commission a Joint University Committee to continue to build momentum and support for creating a sustainable future for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and its associated partners and members, (b) that this committee should report to the Chancellor, and (c) that this committee be comprised of faculty, students, administration, academic staff, classified staff, and appropriate external and community stakeholders.

 

 

 

 

C.  Implementing Talloires -- Suggested priorities

 

Should UW-L adopt the Talloires Declaration, the Joint University Committee would oversee implementation of the Talloires Declaration.  By doing so, UW-L would maintain and expand the courses of action specified in this declaration.  Thus, we would urge this committee to

 

1.     Work with relevant institutional and academic bodies to maintain, explore, and develop curricula, research, policy, and information exchanges that will create educational experiences at UW-La Crosse that incorporate sustainability and environmental literacy.

 

2.     Take steps necessary to continue and expand effective linkages and partnerships, locally and internationally, publicly and privately, that will further support the University’s efforts for creating a sustainable future.

 

3.     Work to assure that the efforts for achieving a more sustainable future at UW-L will also complement and extend the University’s ongoing commitments to diversity and internationalization.

 

4.     Consider specific courses of action that address UW-L’s carbon emissions footprint, including conducting a campus-wide audit and setting specific emissions targets (see Action 10).

 

5.     Require that new campus construction and, where appropriate, renovations, conform to (or exceed) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards.

 


 

D.   Assessment of Actions Specified in the Talloires Declaration

 

Action 1.  Increase Awareness of Environmentally Sustainable Development

Use every opportunity to raise public, government, industry, foundation, and university awareness by openly addressing the urgent need to move toward an environmentally sustainable future.

 

Ongoing activities

 

        UW-L has a strong record of environmental research, education, and outreach that addresses audiences in academia, government, industry, and the public.  Selected examples are as follows.

 

•       UW-L continues to sponsor presentations by noteworthy individuals who are active in issues relating to environmental sustainability, including Robert Kennedy (National Resources Defense Council), Michael Dombek (former Chief of the U.S. Forest Service), and Jared Diamond (Pulitzer prizing-winning author and scientist).  Presentations by such individuals are widely advertised to the campus community and general public.

 

•       UW-L continues to sponsor presentations by UW-L faculty and by local and regional scientists on issues pertaining to environmental sustainability.  For example, the University hosted four consecutive seminar series during 2001-2004 -- Resources, Environment, and the Human Species; Human Interactions with the Environment; Celebrating the Year of Water; and Environmental Analysis and Management.  These seminars included 34 presentations by UW-L faculty in the sciences, Health Education, and Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center as well as by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  Presentations were attended by students, faculty, local environmental scientists, and the general public.

 

•       UW-L scientists have a distinguished track record of performing significant environmental research and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.  In addition, their work has made important contributions to environmental policy and regulation.  For example, during the 1980s, UW-L faculty were members of a national team of scientists from several universities, government agencies, and utility companies that investigated how sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants affected the acidity of lakes in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.  As a result of this work, state sulfur dioxide emission standards were increased by 50%, and state power plants met (and exceeded) this goal by the early 1990s.   UW-L scientists now play national and international leadership roles in studying environmental effects of mercury (including mercury-contaminated fish) and participating in discussions regarding mercury emission standards for coal-fired power plants. 

 

•       UW-L student groups, including the Environmental Council and Student Senate, have been active in raising environmental awareness within the campus community.  For example, student groups play prominent roles in organizing annual Earth Week events in the La Crosse community and in discussions about incorporating environmentally sustainable technologies into new campus buildings.

 

•       Other examples of how UW-L faculty, staff, and students are helping to increase awareness of sustainability issues are presented in Actions 6 (collaborating with external stakeholders), 8 (working with primary and secondary schools), and 9 (sponsoring national and international environmental conferences).

 

Possible future activities

 

        We expect activities addressing Action 1 to continue in upcoming years.  For example, plans are being made to initiate Natural Step[2] Learning Circles on campus that will be coordinated with other learning circles in the community.

Action 2.  Create an Institutional Culture of Sustainability

        Encourage all universities to engage in education, research, policy formation, and information exchange on population, environment, and development to move toward global sustainability.

 

Ongoing activities

 

        In one way or another, each of the “ongoing activities” listed under the Talloires actions in this report addresses this action.  For example, UW-L has a strong record of environmental research and scholarship (Action 1), has created excellent environmental curriculum programs for students (Action 3), and has programs in place for resource conservation, recycling, and waste reduction (Action 4).  However, the scope and detail of environmental activities occurring on campus are not widely known, even among faculty, staff, and students who are most actively engaged in these activities!  Thus, an “institutional culture of sustainability” does not yet exist on campus.

 

Possible future activities

 

•       One of the most effective ways to foster an institutional culture of sustainability would be to implement Action 10, whereby a committee of faculty, staff, students, administration, and other appropriate stakeholders would be established.  This committee would coordinate ways in which UW-L’s diverse environmental efforts would be shared with the campus community.  In addition, the committee would publicize new sustainability efforts, encourage discussions among various campus constituencies about green technologies of potential interest to UW-L, and support faculty interested in including sustainability themes into their courses. 

 

•       Other actions that would help foster an institutional culture of sustainability include:

 

        Establish close working relationships with other UW campuses that have already initiated sustainability programs (e.g., UW-Eau Claire, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Stout).

 

        Establish working relationships with the City and County of La Crosse, Gundersen Lutheran, local power companies, and other local groups that are adopting sustainability models.

 

        Help initiate UW System meetings that address sustainability issues of mutual concern among UW campuses.

 

        Establish a web site presence that describes UW-L sustainability activities.

 

        Work with the UW-L Foundation to solicit donations from individuals and companies with special interests in supporting green construction projects on campus. For example, Xcel Energy granted the Energy Center of Wisconsin $35,000 to assist UW-L in implementing sustainable building practices in Reuter Hall.

 

 

Action 3.  Educate for Environmentally Responsible Citizenship

Establish programs to produce expertise in environmental management, sustainable economic development, population, and related fields to ensure that all university graduates are environmentally literate and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens.

 

        Ongoing activities

       

        UW-L offers several academic programs that focus on environmental management and related fields:

 

•       Biology Major-Aquatic Science Concentration (undergraduate and graduate)

•       Biology Major-Environmental Science Concentration

•       Chemistry Major-Environmental Science Concentration

•       Earth Science Minor

•       Environmental Studies Minor

•       Geography Major-Environmental Science Concentration

•       Geographical Information Systems Minor

•       History Minor-Environmental Focus

•       Microbiology Major-Environmental Science Concentration

 

        General Education Program course offerings with significant environmental components:

 

•       Global and Multicultural Studies

        ANT, ECO, GEO, HIS, POL, or SOC 202: Contemporary Global Issues

        ENV 201: Introduction to Environmental Studies

        GEO 200: Conservation of Global Environments

 

•       Science: Understanding the Natural World

        BIO 102: Contemporary Issues in Biological Sciences

        ESC 101: Earth Environments

 

        International Education Program courses in developing countries (typically include prominent environmental sustainability themes)

 

        Examples for J-term 2008:   

        BIO 260 Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Central America

        MGT 400/431 Voyages with a Vision: Reality Tour to Tanzania

 

        UW-L Internship Programs:

 

•       UW-L students often complete environmental internships at Dairyland Power, Hixon Forest Nature Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Wisconsin DNR. 

 

        The following departments offer courses that have strong environmental themes:

 

        Educational Studies, Economics, English, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Health Education and Health Promotion, Philosophy, Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation, and Sociology, offer courses that have strong environmental themes.

 

Student Organizations: Environmental Council and Environmental Science Club

 

Possible future activities

 

•       Use informational posters on campus to describe campus sustainability initiatives, e.g., the significance Free Trade coffees offered in the Cyber Cafe and Murphy’s Mug, MTU bus pass system, and amount of campus waste that is recycled, etc.

 

•       Work with Murphy Library faculty and staff to feature journals, books, and other resources that address environmental sustainability and green business practices.

 

•       Add a sustainability component during residence hall orientations for freshmen, parents, and staff.

 

 

Action 4.  Foster Environmental Literacy For All

Create programs to develop the capability of university faculty to teach environmental literacy to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

 

        Ongoing activities

 

        Because of their rich historical contexts, strong interdisciplinary connections, and global connections, environmental sustainability issues offer much instructional potential.  For example, failed farming practices in the North American Great Plains helped spawn the great dust storms of the 1930s while also eliminating the substantial carbon-storing potential of the original prairie.  This is an example of a complex story that offers numerous opportunities by which environmental literacy can be incorporated into variety of disciplinary fields (biology, history, literature, public policy, etc.). 

 

        However, we are not aware of programs at UW-L that support faculty who are interested in weaving environmental literacy and sustainability issues into their courses.  As noted below, such programs could be readily implemented. 

 

Possible future activities

 

•       Form an interdisciplinary faculty workgroup[3] that would serve as a resource for interested faculty and departments.  This workgroup would identify prominent environmental themes, encapsulate the scientific basis of these themes, find appropriate resource materials, and propose ways in which these themes might be incorporated into courses from a variety of disciplines.  This workgroup would also present their ideas at UW-L’s annual Conference on Teaching and Learning.  

 

•       Solicit funding from the UW System Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID) to support on campus faculty development efforts.  For example, OPID Lesson Study Training Grants could be used to support small teams of instructors who develop innovative curricula for introductory courses.

 

•       Obtain OPID support to organize a UW System conference on incorporating environmental sustainability themes into campus curricula.

 

 

Action 5.  Practice Institutional Ecology

Set an example of environmental responsibility by establishing institutional ecology policies and practices of resource conservation, recycling, waste reduction, and environmentally sound operations.

 

Ongoing activities

 

•       The UW-L recycling and waste management program was established by Facilities Management (Landscape Services) in 1991.

 

•       The MTU Bus Pass Program was adopted in 2000 following discussions between the UW-L Student Senate and the City of La Crosse.  This program provides bus passes for all UW-L students; UW-L employees may purchase passes at reduced rates.  This program provides more than 3,000 bus rides per month to UW-L students.

 

•       Students, faculty, and staff from Campus Planning and Facilities Management are now engaged in discussions to incorporate sustainability themes into the construction of new buildings, including the new academic building. 

 

•       Energy-reduction features are implemented in UW-L buildings on an ongoing basis, e.g., installation of a heat-recovery system that generates hot water for Reuter Hall and equipping restrooms and classrooms with lighting sensors).

 

•       Following discussions with UW-L student groups, Chartwells now offers Fair Trade coffee and organic yogurt options and other Fair Trade products are available in the University Bookstore.

 

 

Possible future activities

 

•       Conserve paper use by having printers in campus computer labs default to duplex printing.

 

•       Initiate benchmarking and record keeping of utility use for campus buildings to monitor efficiency and identify buildings that require additional energy savings features.

 

•       Conduct a campus audit that establishes UW-L’s greenhouse gas “footprint.”  This audit would provide a baseline for future comparisons.

 

•       Seek funding to support LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) design features in all new buildings constructed on campus.

 

•       Use alternative fuel source or hybrid technology when purchasing new university vehicles.

 

•       Encourage students and university personnel to use alternative modes of transportation (car pooling, biking, mass transportation, and walking)

 

•       Increase the use of teleconferencing, thus saving on transportation costs to attend meetings.

 

 

Action 6.  Involve All Stakeholders     

        Encourage involvement of government, foundations, and industry in supporting interdisciplinary research, education, policy formation, and information exchange in environmentally sustainable development. Expand work with community and nongovernmental organizations to assist in finding solutions to environmental problems.

 

Ongoing activities

 

        UW-L faculty, staff, and campus organizations are engaged in numerous activities that involve stakeholders external to UW-L that have strong environmental interests.  Examples are as follows.

 

•       Ongoing collaborative research among the UW-L River Studies Center[4], government agencies, and private industry, including:

 

        Providing leadership in developing environmental policies for  the CALFED Bay-Delta Ecological Restoration Program. 

        External stakeholders: multiple California state agencies (California Bay-Delta Authority, Department of Fish and Game, Department of Conservation, Department of Food and Agriculture) and federal agencies (Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management).

 

        Investigating mercury contamination of aquatic and fishery resources in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and adjacent areas of Canada. 

        External stakeholders: Bad River Indian Reservation, Canadian Department of Fisheries & Oceans, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, National Park Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 

        Participating in workshops linking aquatic research with economic development. 

        External stakeholders: Wisconsin sports fishery.

 

        Conducting collaborative research with academic partners and government agencies on causes of amphibian deformations.

        External stakeholders: scientists in multiple academic institutions and state and federal resource management agencies.

 

•       Participating in annual Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) Conferences.  IEN is a grassroots organization founded indigenous peoples to address environmental and economic issues primarily in North America. 

        UW-L participants: Environmental Council, Department of Sociology & Archaeology

        External stakeholder: IEN

 

•       Work closely with the Great Lakes Intertribal Council and the Native American Research for Health on joint medical research (NARCH) to provide a cooperative structure for the development and implementation of high quality, culturally sensitive and community supported research linked to health disparity issues.

        UW-L participants: Department of Microbiology, Office of Multicultural Student Services

        External stakeholder: IEN

 

•       Use of GIS and remote sensing by students and faculty in Geography & Earth Science to investigate land use patterns and urban sprawl in western Wisconsin. 

        UW-L participants: Department of Geography & Earth Science

        External stakeholders: local government agencies.

 

•       Documenting patterns of outdoor recreation and tourism; exploring environmental ethics.

        UW-L participants: Department of Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation

        External stakeholders: Wisconsin tourism industry, state and local government agencies.

 

•       Participation in the La Crosse Hmong/Native Garden Program, which produces organic vegetables that are distributed to families and elders in Hmong Mutual Association and the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers Houses.

        UW-L participants: Institute on Race and Ethnicity, Environmental Council

        External stakeholders: local Hmong and Ho-Chunk communities

 

Possible future activities

 

•       UW-La Crosse faculty and staff will continue their involvement with stakeholders in private industry, government agencies, and educational institutions that have strong environmental interests.  Indeed, prospects for increased involvement with these stakeholders will likely increase, given that environmental sustainability is an issue of growing concern for local governments (City and County of La Crosse) and institutions (Gundersen-Lutheran).

 

•       Continue working with Xcel Energy and Dairyland Power on cost-effective energy efficiency solutions at UW-L.

 

 

Action 7.  Collaborate for Interdisciplinary Approaches

Convene university faculty and administrators with environmental practitioners to develop interdisciplinary approaches to curricula, research initiatives, operations, and outreach activities that support an environmentally sustainable future.

 

Ongoing activities

 

•       The River Studies Center, UW-L administration, and the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC - a U.S. Geological Survey facility) have actively collaborated on research initiatives since the 1970s.  These research initiatives have addressed multiple factors that threaten the sustainability of the upper Mississippi River, including the fate of heavy contaminants, sediment accumulation, invasion of exotic species, commercial navigation, and effects of agricultural nutrients.  Because of their complexity, these initiatives are usually interdisciplinary and involve agricultural practices, commercial navigation, and recreational interests.

 

•       UW-L scientists actively participant in annual meetings of Mississippi River Research Consortium, which includes a broad spectrum of participants from academia and state/federal resource management agencies.

 

•       Virtually all environmental programs offered at UW-L (see Action #3 above) are interdisciplinary.  Completion of these programs typically requires upper-level coursework from three or more departments.  For example, to complete the Chemistry major-Environmental Science concentration, students must complete 39 credits of chemistry, 10 credits of calculus, 4 credits of physics, and 12 credits of electives selected from biology, earth science, philosophy, economics, and history.

 

•       The theme for the 2006 International Conference on Rivers and Civilization (see Action 9) was explicitly interdisciplinary -- “Rivers Connect.”   The conference included presentations by scientists, historians, and anthropologists, an extensive art exhibit, and several musical/theatrical performances.  The interdisciplinary nature of the conference was also reflected by the organizing committee, which included faculty and staff from Biology, Educational Technology, English, History, Mississippi Valley Archeology Center, Murphy Library, and Theater Arts.

 

Possible future activities

 

•       Encourage directors of environmental programs (listed in Action 3) to include non-academic, external reviewers when their programs undergo UW-L’s Academic Program Review process.  Non-academic environmental science practitioners can offer valuable interdisciplinary perspectives for program improvement.

 

•       Encourage UW-L faculty and administrators to continue collaborations with governmental agencies.

 

•       Work with Career Services to expand environmentally related student internship experiences in private businesses and government agencies.

 

•       Continue to explore innovative ways in which students with environmental interests can be given high quality interdisciplinary curriculum options, e.g., working with Math faculty to offer special sections of statistics and calculus courses that focus on environmental applications.

 

 

Action 8. Enhance Capacity of Primary and Secondary Schools

Establish partnerships with primary and secondary schools to help develop the capacity for interdisciplinary teaching about population, environment, and sustainable development.

Ongoing activities

 

•       Continuing Education and Extension routinely organizes summer programs for children in which UW-L and scientists at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center offer environmental science programs.  Examples of these programs include Crawleology 101, Girls in Science, and Environmental Explorers.

 

•       UW-L faculty and Murphy Library staff have created an extensive collection of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) resources for schoolteachers.  Environmental science topics are well represented in these materials, some of which have been obtained with funding from the Paul E. Stry Foundation, which supports environmental education and sustainability initiatives.

 

•       UW-L faculty serve on the Myrick Hixon EcoPark education committee.  This committee will design educational exhibits for the new ecopark building.

 

•       UW-L and the School District of La Crosse jointly support a grant writer, who prepares proposals to fund projects of mutual interest.  Presently, the university and school district are preparing a proposal that will be submitted to the National Science Foundation.  This proposal would fund workshops for local teachers to study the science of global climate change.  Faculty from Geography & Earth Science and the School of Education are participating in this initiative.

 

•       UW-L student interns at the Hixon Forest Nature Center assist in environmental education activities for public school groups.

 

•       Faculty and staff in Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center sponsor activities for school children and in-service workshops for teachers that promote understanding of environmental relationships of past native cultures and to insure that land development occurs in ways that preserve cultural resources.

 

•       UW-L OMSS staff organize a summer “Mississippi School on the River Program,” which is a hands-on aquatic outdoor program for pre-college students from Milwaukee, La Crosse, and the surrounding area.  This program, supported with extramural funding from the UW System and U.S. Department of Education, has brought 80 students to UW-L each summer for the past 10 years.

 

Possible future activities

 

•       Several faculty from Biology, Chemistry, English, and Geography & Earth Science have indicated their interest in forming a UW-L speaker’s bureau, which would available for short in-service presentations on environmental topics to area schoolteachers.

 

•       Work with our regional CESA office to create summer workshops for teachers that focus on environmental sustainability themes.

 

 

Action 9. Broaden Service and Outreach Nationally and Internationally      

        Work with national and international organizations to promote a worldwide university effort toward a sustainable future.

 

Ongoing activities

 

        UW-L faculty and staff have an excellent record of collaborating with national and international organizations that promote environment study and sustainability.  Recent examples that illustrate UW-L’s ongoing work with national and international organizations are listed below.

 

•       UW-L hosted the 2001 meetings of the North American Benthological Society, a professional organization for aquatic ecologists (ca. 900 attendees).

 

•       UW-L scientists have served (and continue to serve) on planning committees for international river conferences.  The most recent conference, the 2006 International Conference on Rivers and Civilization was hosted by UW-L in 2006.  The conference included 425 registrants from 24 countries who represented industry, academia, and government organizations.  It provided a unique opportunity for scientists and academicians from around the world to hold formal/informal discussions on environmental issues and to initiate planning for subsequent conferences. 

 

•       UW-L served as one of three co-hosting institutions (UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, U.S. Geological Survey) for the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Madison, WI (2006).  It was attended by 1,116 individuals from 48 countries representing private industry, U.S. and foreign government agencies, and the academic research community.  More than 1,000 papers were presented, and special conference issues are being published in six technical journals.

 

Possible future activities

 

•       Faculty in the Department of Management are discussing the possibility of becoming a member of the Global Compact Academic Network, an initiative dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of global corporate citizenship.

 

•       UW-L staff and faculty continue to work on national and international outreach efforts.  For example, Jim Wiener (River Studies) serves on the organizing committee for the 8th International Conference on the Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas, which will be held in 2008 in Singapore.

 

•       Given increased student interest in international education, interested UW-L faculty could be encouraged to develop J-term and summer courses that examine how other countries are addressing sustainability issues.  For example, the sustainability movement is especially well developed in Scandinavian municipalities and businesses.

 

 

Action 10. Maintain the Movement

Establish a Secretariat and a steering committee to continue this momentum, and to inform and support each other's efforts in carrying out this declaration. 

 

Possible future activities

 

        As noted earlier (Action 2) the visibility and effectiveness of UW-L many environmental activities would be better served by establishing a joint university committee composed of faculty, staff, students, administration, and appropriate stakeholders external to the university.  This committee would serve as a focal point for addressing issues of sustainability that are of increasing concern to local, national, and international communities.

 

        In addition to its general oversight of the Talloires model, we strongly recommend that the joint university committee be given these two charges:

 

•       Complete a baseline audit of all campus greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions resulting from heating, electricity, student and faculty commutes, and professional travel.  This audit should be regularly updated, perhaps at 2-3 year intervals.

 

•       Propose a campus emissions target and timetable by which UW-L strives to meet this target.  Committee discussion should consider a range of emissions goals, including climate neutrality.

       

        Our committee recommends that these two charges be completed by December 2008 and December 2009, respectively. 

 

        In addition, we recommend that UW-L consider joining the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  This organization includes approximately 300 U.S. colleges and universities that are working to address sustainability issues in higher education.  AASHE includes five comprehensive universities from Minnesota and Wisconsin (UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, and UW-Superior, Winona State, UM-Morris, and Bemidji State).  Examples of AASHE programs include a campus sustainability tracking and assessment system, professional development workshops and conferences, and the American College/University Presidents Climate initiative.  Membership in this organization may be an effective way to network and learn about effective strategies used that have been successfully implemented on other campuses across the U.S.

 

  


 

[1] Eight UW System campuses (UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior, and UW-Whitewater) have signed the American College/University Presidents Climate Initiative, whereby universities pledge to conduct an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions and propose a systematic plan to achieve climate neutrality.  Winona State University is an additional signatory.

[2] “Natural Step” is a framework for guiding actions of companies, communities, and governments toward greater ecologically sustainability.  The La Crosse City Council and La Crosse County Board of Supervisors have recently adopted the Natural Step framework.

[3] Several faculty have indicated their willingness to participate in such a workgroup: Cynthia Berlin (Geography & Earth Science), John Betton (Management), Carla Graham (English), Tom Hench (Management), Carol Miller (Sociology & Archaeology), and Rob Tyser (Biology).

[4] UW-L’s River Studies Center includes faculty from several UW-La Crosse departments (Biology, Chemistry, Geography & Earth Science, History, and Microbiology).  Students and faculty from these departments have a 30-year tradition of collaborative research and outreach with stakeholders in academia, state resource management agencies, federal agencies, and the power industry.