Submitted on November 13, 2009; last updated on January 14, 2012
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh plans include two scenarios. The first is projected to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020, and possibly as early as 2012, if state funding allows for full implimentation of the Governor's Initiative for Energy Independence, for which we are one of four campuses selected to remove fossil fuels from campus operations and electricity sources. A second scenario is provided with the prediction of reaching carbon neutrality by 2025.
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The largest reduction in emissions (36%) will come from converting the campus heating plant from coal and natural gas to biomass fuel. A 2008 energy independence study recommended building a biomass-to-syngas plant adjacent to the heating plant. The second largest mitigation (35%) will come from purchasing renewable electricity. The 2008 energy independence study also identified a number of small efficiency projects with payback times of less than 10 years that will mitigate an additional 13%. Reduced transportation sources are estimated to reduce 8% of campus emissions. The remaining 8% of emissions from transportation and minor sources would be covered by purchased offsets.
The Campus Sustainability Plan (2008) identifies a number of goals and initiatives for Teaching. A major goal is to expand the number of courses that address sustainability issues (including courses with a section on sustainability and those that make sustainability a primary issue). This effort should include helping faculty and students to better recognize the sustainability dimension of existing courses. Current efforts include offering 2-day workshops for faculty development of curriculum (Winnebago Project, since 2008). The university also has adopted (2008) a set of Student Learning Outcomes as part of its Liberal Education Reform (a study of general education goals and objectives) that includes knowledge of sustainability and its applications. An assessment of courses is underway. Recommended future actions include developing graduate programs in sustainability.
The Plan also recognizes informal teaching opportunities on campus. Current goals include building up sustainability programs in residence halls and developing unit leaders and liaisons. Recommended future actions include sustainability training for employees, and as part of student orientation.
The Campus Sustainability Plan (2008) identifies several goals and initiatives for Research. Future considerations include a website clearinghouse for research opportunities and expertise, rewards and awards, developing common resources (such as a campus Geographical Information System, recently used to map 1800 campus trees), and adding faculty expertise to fill current gaps in sustainability research capacity (e.g. engineering).
The Campus Sustainability Plan (2008) identifies a number of goals and initiatives for outreach. Current efforts include: website for dissemination; two major week-long events (Earth Charter Community Summit in Fall and Earth Week in Spring); and placing a representative on sustainability committees for the City of Oshkosh, a regional economic development organization (NEW North) and a regional higher education consortium (NEW ERA). A federally-funded project is developing outreach materials for providing tours of campus sustainability features for local businesses, policymakers, citizens, teachers, and k-12 students. Future considerations are to develop permanent signs and kiosks to support campus tours.
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