Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.
Firmly rooted in the findings of the inaugural Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory taken in 2008, the Xavier University Sustainability Committee devised the Campus Sustainability Plan (CSP) with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The CSP aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through a multi-layered approach, taking both a comprehensive and realistic outlook. The Plan incorporates short, mid, and long-term goals in order to inform the transition process over time.
Based on the GHG Inventory findings, Xavier University’s primary emissions stem from purchased energy, infrastructure, and transportation. Therefore, the Plan focuses largely on efforts to shift policy and practice in regards to these key areas.
Primary mitigation strategies in terms of energy and infrastructure that the Plan proposes include: investment in alternative energy infrastructure such as solar or geothermal systems, retrofitting current structures, implementation of both low and high-cost energy conservation measures, and the reduction of storm water runoff. The Plan also elaborates on the importance of planning new campus expansion and growth to keep the issue of sustainability at the core of the process with the knowledge that purchasing offsets will be necessary.
In terms of the transportation section of the Plan, the CSP endeavors to push this oft-forgotten sector of campus planning to the forefront. Primary strategies to mitigate emissions due to transportation include: supporting systems of ridesharing and shuttles, two-wheeled vehicle commuting, non-fossil fuel dependant on-campus vehicle fleet, and the purchasing of offsets for unavoidable air travel. The Plan also recommends a centralization of transportation services in order to better coordinate policy shifts and system maintenance. Greater education, shared systems, and coordination of services will allow for strong reductions in emissions due to transportation.
Xavier University’s CSP is a living document that balances these strategies and others on an understanding of obvious limitations and great opportunities.
Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
Xavier’s long-term vision is to create an academic and co-curricular experience that introduces every Xavier student to ideas about and issues of sustainability from a variety of perspectives. To increase the number of courses with sustainability content on campus, we will facilitate faculty development in sustainability, develop a major in environmental sciences and consider one in environmental studies, and identify courses with sustainability content in the course catalog.
In order to raise awareness of students, faculty and staff about their roles in promoting sustainability, we will provide better publicity for the recycling program, incorporate sustainability into the Manresa orientation program, reduce waste during move-in and move-out, provide a guide for sustainable living to all incoming students, and support an annual or semi-annual sustainability lecture series.
Students come to Xavier for many reasons but one of them is our service learning opportunities. And, we seek to ensure that every Xavier student has at least ten hours experiential learning relating to sustainability before they graduate. Finally, we will promote events, such as lectures and film festivals that promote events that educate about sustainability in the wider community.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Xavier’s efforts to prepare students to live “lives of solidarity, service and success” and to become “men and women for others” requires the integration of academic pursuits with experiences to form a personal mission for the betterment of humanity and our world. In addition, Xavier follows a distinctly Catholic and Jesuit call to be active participants in the building of a more just society that aims toward the common good. To these ends, Xavier is committed to adding to and gaining from the conversation and action within the larger community concerning the issue of sustainability.
For the purposes of this Plan, the community that the CSP refers to engaging includes the three neighborhoods immediately surrounding the University, the City of Cincinnati, and the Midwest region as the primary layers of focus. In the short term, plans for expanding community outreach include the development of communication networks to exchange invitations to educational opportunities and to share current on-campus efforts such as pilot demonstrations of sustainable living that our surrounding community may learn from and like to implement (rain garden, water catchment systems, community gardens, etc.). Within the next 3-5 years, the CSP aims to increase Xavier’s representation on city-wide and regional planning commissions and environmental non-profit boards to ensure that the University includes itself in important conversations in regards to issues such as public transportation enhancements and regional alternative energy initiatives. Over the long term, the University will utilize the Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning here on campus to establish a “one-stop shop” for community members and city officials to access best practices and training courses. In closure, Xavier plans to engage as both a leader and active participant in inspiring thought, developing models and enacting plans that spur creative ideas and innovative projects in step with community partners.