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UMM receives "exemplary" sustainability report card, says NWF

Posted by Judy Riley on Friday, Sep. 5, 2008

The University of Minnesota, Morris is among only 11 Minnesota colleges and universities named as “exemplary” by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in its recent “report card” on sustainability in higher education. Thirty-three Minnesota schools responded to the survey. UMM is also one of only 240 schools named in the report, of the 1,068 that were reviewed by the NWF.

The NWF’s Campus Environment 2008: A National Report Card on Sustainability in Higher Education survey ranks UMM as “exemplary” or “committed” in multiple categories. Having “higher levels of sustainability activities already in place” at UMM received an exemplary ranking, while the campus’ higher levels of “plans to do more” rated a “committed” mark.

“It is exciting to be recognized again by the National Wildlife Federation,” said Troy Goodnough, UMM campus sustainability coordinator. “UMM is one of the leaders in the nation and in Minnesota at improving the sustainability of our campus operations. Without forward thinking students, administration, faculty and staff, this transformation would not be possible. We know we are at the beginning, but it is a successful beginning!”

UMM was cited specifically in the areas of environmental or sustainable goal-setting, energy efficiency and conservation, renewables and its future plans for green landscaping and grounds. According to the summary, the most promising new development in higher education planning is the “rising percentage of campuses setting goals for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“I’m pleased to see that we’re in the ranks of those school with exemplary programs,” said Cheryl Contant, UMM vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean. “We anticipate that this rating will be further enhanced when they account for our new environmental studies major and other academic initiatives.”

The purpose of the survey is “to explore the extent to which college and university leaders value environmental performance and sustainability and are putting these values into practice.” The report card “…found that environmentally progressive and sustainable operations are now ranked among the highest priorities on campus.”

Among the priorities for the Morris campus is to achieve carbon neutrality and energy production self-sufficiency by the year 2010. To date, the percentage of buildings powered by wind-generated electricity from the wind turbine located at the West Central Research and Outreach Center has grown to nearly 100 percent and UMM’s biomass gasification facility has begun operating.

This is the second time in less than a year that UMM’s commitment to a renewable and sustainable education has been applauded by the NWF. UMM was recognized for its best practices in the January 2008 NWF publication, Higher Education in a Warming World—The Business Case for Climate Leadership on Campus.

Read the full NWF report at ReportCard.

To learn more about UMM’s sustainability initiatives, visit Green Campus.