|| United States
The University of Louisville
is committed to integrating sustainability into everything we do - from how
we manage our facilities, finances and people to what we teach in the
classroom and what we research in the lab.
Our vision is to create a university that is itself a living
laboratory for sustainability and a campus community that leads by example
and educates as much by what we do as by what we say.
Our goal is to make decisions which reflect a balanced consideration
for environmental, social and economic responsibility and to continually
learn as we go.
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University of Louisville - Sustainability
Creating a more sustainable UofL is a dynamic, multi-faceted, long-term
process. We've come a long way and we have a long way to go...but, yes, it's
Use this site to learn more about our on-going UofL sustainability
initiatives and to explore the many ways you can get involved and help us
create a better world right here, right now.
The Sustainability Council provides oversight and
direction, coordinates activities and recommends policies.
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
This, one of the most commonly referenced definitions of sustainability,
comes from “Our Common Future: The Report of the World Commission on
Environment and Development,” also known as the Brundtland Commission
report. In 1991, UofL honored the Brundtland Commission with the Grawemeyer
Award for Ideas Improving World Order and Gro Harlem Brundtland spoke on
campus the following academic year.
Today at UofL, an
extraordinary amount of activity has been going on in the area of
sustainability. Groups are implementing or planning everything from green
purchasing policies to buying locally produced food, and energy audits to
The Green Budget Rescue Team, largely comprised of folks from Arts and
Sciences, has presented a proposal to manage our budget woes through smarter
personal and institutional energy practices. The Kentucky Pollution
Prevention Center runs programs all over the state to help businesses run
more efficiently. The Partnership for a Green City teams us with local
schools and the city to manage our environmental resources better. We’re doing a lot, but we can, and will, do more.
One of the goals of our new strategic plan is to be “creative and
responsible stewards” of our resources. That includes making a commitment to
sustainability and efficiency — a commitment so important to us that we will
track our progress according to standards from the Association for the
Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Because we work best when we work together, I have formed the Sustainability
Council to help pull together our efforts and to keep the campus community
informed of everything that’s happening. The council also will help us move
into a leadership position in the sustainability area.
Among other things, the Council will
- Oversee the work of three subcommittees (Education & Research; Operations;
Administration, Finance & Outreach) on sustainability initiatives
- Develop and review policies to recommend for implementation to President
Ramsey and me
- Set metrics and provide oversight to measure progress using the categories
in the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)
and in other important areas
- Create new subgroups or committees, if needed, to move forward agendas
- Serve as a clearinghouse for university activities related to sustainable
- Encourage faculty, staff and students to become involved in our efforts
- Work with the Office of Communications and Marketing to publicize internally
and externally what we’re doing
I’m sure more tasks will emerge, but you can see from these examples that the main purpose of the council is to coordinate and lead our activities and create excitement for creative thinking and engagement in this important area.
Bike To Work Day with President Ramsey
Campus Sustainability Day
Solar hot water system installation at Shelby campus
Admin & Outreach
Our commitment to community engagement and
responsible management of people & funds.
The Administration, Finance & Outreach Committee of the Sustainability
Council works to ensure that the University of Louisville:
1. Continues our rich tradition of community engagement to solve real world
2. Remains a diverse, accessible and affordable university where differences
3. Compensates our employees fairly, provides for basic needs, promotes
health & wellness and treats everyone with dignity;
4. Manages our funds with a triple-bottom-line perspective that takes into
consideration the economic, social and environmental impacts of our
Follow the links to the left to learn more.
Diversity & Affordability
Working to ensure that UofL remains a diverse and
The Office of Diversity at the University of Louisville strives to foster
and sustain an environment of inclusiveness that empowers us all to achieve
our highest potential without fear of prejudice or bias.
Commission on Diversity & Racial Equality
The University of Louisville‘s diversity equity committee is the Commission
on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE). CODRE serves as the primary policy
advisory group on issues of diversity and racial equality at the University
of Louisville and reports to the President. CODRE stays abreast of relevant
issues including, but not limited to: recruitment, retention, and promotion
of faculty and professional/ administrative staff from diverse populations;
group-based inequalities and inequities; the academic success of a diverse
racial and ethnic student body including retention, curriculum, and campus
climate concerns; addressing sexist and racist conduct that impedes the
educational mission of the university; and strategies and praxis that
support “education that is multicultural.”
UofL strives to compensate employees fairly, provide
for basic needs, promote health & wellness and treat everyone with dignity.
UofL actively seeks to be a truly Great Place to Work, where faculty and
staff are treated fairly, given a voice in governance, and encouraged to get
actively involved in making the University a place of ever greater health,
wellness, and sustainability.
Peace & Justice
A sustainable society requires us to actively pursue
peace and justice.
UofL is building a culture of peace and justice through a variety of means
designed to create more resilient communities. Our students, staff, and
faculty are engaged citizens who work inside and outside the classroom to
help make our community safer, saner, and better for everyone. We pursue
these goals through our commitments to education, research, and civic
engagement. Listed below are some of UofL's academic and other programs that
share these goals.
The University of Louisville is taking steps to reduce
its environmental impact and enhance sustainability on all three of its
campuses. These efforts span the full spectrum of our operations from how we
build and maintain our facilities, to what food we serve, to how people get
to and from campus.
The Vice President for Business Affairs is committed to fostering leadership
in the area of sustainability. Vice President Larry Owsley chairs the
Sustainability Council's Operations Committee and works with university
units to improve environmental, social and economic performance in areas
such as local food, energy management and LEED certification.
Buildings & Energy
UofL is committed to building smarter and conserving
energy and water on campus.
In growing and improving our campus facilities, UofL is working to minimize
environmental impacts and maximize opportunities for efficiency. This effort
is guided by the Office of University Planning, Design and Construction (UPDC).
Energy & Water Efficiency
UofL is making massive investments to retrofit its existing facilities in
order to increase the efficiency of our operations, reduce costs, consume
less energy and water, and produce less pollution as a result.
All new construction and major renovation projects at UofL are designed and
built in accordance with Kentucky's High Performance Building Standards,
using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green
Building Rating System™ as a guide or for certification, depending on the
scale of the project.
As we transition toward climate neutrality by 2050, UofL has made a bold
commitment to renewable energy. Our immediate goal is to source at least 20%
of our power from renewable energy sources by 2020. UofL is seriously
exploring options including solar, biomass, geothermal, and low-impact
hydropower projects. Some of these efforts are tied to educational and
research objectives at UofL.
Vegetated roofs are not only beautiful, but they help moderate temperatures
to reduce the urban heat island effect and building energy demands for
cooling and heating, while reducing storm water runoff, generating oxygen,
and providing wildlife habitat in the urban landscape. They can also be
designed as green spaces for urban dwellers looking to escape the concrete
UofL seeks to provide ever greater access to local,
healthy, and sustainably produced food.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program
Each year UofL invites students, staff and faculty to connect directly with
local farmers through our CSA program.
The program helps support our local economy, promotes healthy eating,
and reduces the environmental impact of transporting, processing, and
packaging food from far away.
Campus Health Promotion's Basic Pantry Program provides cooking workshops,
shopping guidance, and tasty recipes to help students learn the basic arts
of stocking a pantry and cooking. Whether you are a novice cook or expert
cook, a poor student or a rich entrepreneur, a well-stocked pantry makes it
easier to create quick and nutritious meals. The food you have on hand
largely determines how healthfully you will eat. So wisely stocking your
pantry is a step toward your good health!
UofL's commitment to sustainability is reflected in
our Green Purchasing Policy.
The University of Louisville is committed to the stewardship of the
environment and to reducing the University’s dependence on non-renewable
energy. UofL's Green Purchasing Policies and Procedures supports the
University’s commitment to sustainability.
The goal of this policy is to reduce the adverse environmental impact of our
purchasing decisions by buying goods and services from manufacturers and
vendors who share our commitment to the environment. Green purchasing is the
method wherein environmental and social considerations are taken with equal
weight to the price, availability and performance criteria that colleges and
universities use to make purchasing decisions.
Green Purchasing is also know as “environmentally preferred purchasing (EPP),
green procurement, affirmative procurement, eco-procurement, and
environmentally responsible purchasing.” Green Purchasing minimizes negative
environmental and social effects through the use of environmentally friendly
Green Purchasing attempts to identify and reduce environmental impact and to
maximize resource efficiency
Recycling at UofL is comprehensive and easy...but it
depends on your cooperation
Our goal is to continually reduce the amount of waste we generate and send
to the landfill. You can help by:
1. Reducing - avoiding unnecessary purchases and
2. Reusing - swaping surplus property and choosing
reusable items like mugs, bottles, cloth bags and
napkins, rechargeable batteries, etc.
Since 2010, any recycling bin on all three UofL campuses can be used
to recycle all types of paper, cardboard, plastics, metals, and glass. Learn
more about UofL's Single Stream Recycling program.
Electronic Waste Recycling
UofL's E-Scrap recycling program is handled by UofL Surplus and accepts
items such as televisions, computer hard drives, monitors, keyboards, and
printers, lap tops, and other audio/visual equipment. These items contain
toxins and reusable components which should be kept out of the normal waste
UofL's surplus property exchange program allows staff and faculty to swap
reusable campus office furniture and equipment
Taking steps to enhance environmental responsibility
in the planting and maintenance of campus landscapes.
Grounds maintenance at UofL is the responsibility of Physical Plant. The
Sustainability Council works with the Grounds crew to explore ways to
protect campus trees; to minimize the waste and excessive use of water,
fertilizers, pesticides, salt and fossil fuels; and to find effective
options for lower-maintenance and native species plantings.
UofL promotes food literacy and urban agriculture
through gardens on all three of our campuses
- UofL's organic community Garden Commons is hosted at the Cultural Center, in
front of the University Club, and is a collaborative project in partnership
with Louisville Grows.
- The garden is student-managed by the Garden Commons RSO (Recognized Student
Organization).whose goal is: "Educating ourselves to become urban farmers."
- Though everyone is invited to participate, from the beginning, students
have taken the lead role in making decisions about what to plant, how to
care for the crops, and what to do with the harvest
- Garden Commons is a community space open to participation from all.
Learn more and get involved through the Garden Commons website,
- The Garden Commons hosts an on-going series of workshops about organic
gardening, agriculture, and food justice.
Education & Research
Integrating sustainability into what we teach and
The goals of the Education & Research committee are to raise awareness of
the importance of sustainability and to weave sustainability into the
curriculum and research agenda at the University of Louisville. We seek to
provide students, faculty and the public with more opportunities to study
and investigate the most pressing sustainability challenges facing society.
Expanding the opportunities for students to learn
about sustainability from a variety of perspectives.
The University has developed an internal system to identify
sustainability-focused and related courses throughout our catalog. This
system has identified hundreds of courses across all disciplines which we
are using in the development interdisciplinary undergraduate and masters
programs in Sustainability. These programs are currently going through the
approval process and UofL hopes to begin enrolling students in
Sustainability degree programs in 2012-13.
Sustainability Across the Curriculum
Green Threads is an on-going series of workshops for tenured and
tenure-track faculty sponsored by the UofL Sustainability Council's
Education & Research Committee. The program is designed to expose faculty to
sustainability issues and help them weave sustainability themes into
existing courses or to create new courses focused on sustainability.
Participants receive inspiration, resources, and mutual support. Incentives
also include an honorarium of $500, a series of workshops and tours with
local food meals, and resource materials on sustainability.
Pursuing a deeper understanding of sustainability
challenges and solutions.
The Sustainability Council envisions the University of Louisville as a
living laboratory of sustainability. This means that faculty and students
from all disciplines have the opportunity to study the environmental, social
and economic challenges to sustainability that exist right here on campus
and in our community...and to research solutions that make sense here