Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.
Ohio University engaged in a comprehensive sustainability and climate action planning process that was designed not only to provide the institution with a roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality, but also a guiding vision for sustainable operations across the campus on a long term basis.
The university recently entered in a an aggressive Energy Performance Contract that will invest in retrofits of existing facilities at Ohio University. We know that this will be a critical component of our greenhouse gas mitigation strategy in the fifteen years to follow. Additionally, the university intends to uphold its commitment to transition off coal as its primary on-campus stationary energy source. Such a transition is expected to significantly reduce institutional GHG emissions in the next 5 years.
Over the course of the next 2 years, Ohio University, in collaboration with Sugarbush Foundation and Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development, will invest more than $20,000 in behavior change education in relationship to energy consumption. The university believes strongly that rich and diverse investments must be made both in infrastructure upgrades and human behaviors/values if we are to be truly successful in GHG mitigation.
Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
- Over 40 faculty members participated in the Kanawha Environmental Education project, which sought to enhance the environmental literacy of students by helping professors across disciplines integrated sustainability into their curricula.
- In 2012, OU launched the Common Experience Project in Sustainability, which is focused on providing faculty with the support and resources they need to be successful in integrating sustainability into the curriculum, regardless of discipline or grade level.
- Our university has been designated a Center of Excellence for Environment & Energy by the Ohio Board of Regents.
- Since 1970, Ohio University has offered a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies and since 1994, OHIO has offered an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Certificate for undergraduate students in any major.
- Newly created in 2005, the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability has been offered to non-Environmental Studies majors.
- Undergraduate majors directly related to sustainability include: Applied Ecology, Environmental Biology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Pre-Law, Plant Biology, Marine, Freshwater, and Environmental Biology, Environmental Geology, and Environmental Geography.
- In 2013, Honors Tutorial College will launch the university's first undergraduate degree program in sustainability.
- Each semester, the university offers over 30 graduate and undergraduate courses directly related to sustainability.
- Students gain valuable real-world experience working with agencies such as the Midwest Biodiversity Institute, the Center for Applied Bioassessment and Biocriteria, the U.S. Forest Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
- The Office of Sustainability conducts year-round outreach and education programs for faculty, staff, students and community members regarding a variety of sustainability topics.
- The Residence Challenge competition, launched in 2001, targeted energy and water conservation in our 40 residence halls. This program has since evolved into the Energy Program, a collaborative effort between OU and various community organizations.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
From the beginning, our sustainability planning process has been implemented in such a way as to make it transparent, accessible and relevant to our community. Each of the Working Groups launched as part of the sustainability planning process includes at least one community member who is not directly affiliated with Ohio University. We have solicited input on the visionary goals for the Sustainability Plan by reaching out beyond the University gates.
Outside of the planning process, we are engaged in other community-based projects and programs:
- The Green House Project education campaign sought to improve energy efficiency of off-campus student housing units in 2009. That program has now evolved into a large scale Energy Programming campaign aimed at providing OU students, faculty and staff with the education and resources they need in order to be successful with energy saving initiatives.
-The University provides a free shuttle for university students, faculty, staff, and visitors throughout campus.
-In January 2009, Ohio University installed the largest in-vessel composting system at any college or university online, allowing us to reduce methane gas emissions and recycle 40%-50% of our food-based organic waste. In 2012, the university completed an expansion of that unit, thus allowing the university to compost 100% of its organic food and landscape waste.
- In 2009, the Ohio Climate & Energy Conference was collaborative effort of the Ohio University Office of Sustainability and the Inter-University Council. Representatives from 22 institutions of higher education participated.
- The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs through the Appalachian Watershed Research Group, the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment (CE3), the Center for Air Quality, and the Environmental Studies program, has established itself as a leader in bringing people together to solve energy and environmental problems.
- Office of Sustainability staff serve as active members to a number of community-based organizations in an effort to stay connected to sustainable strategies throughout the region.
- In 2012, the OHIO Ecohouse yard was transformed into a Campus Community Garden, offering a substantial tithe to local food pantries.