UT Knoxville Earns Top Grade in Tennessee, SEC on Sustainability Report Card

 

KNOXVILLE — “We’re all proud of the Make Orange Green effort here at UT Knoxville,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Over the past five years, our university has emerged as a national leader in campus sustainability, and we’re glad to be recognized for the extraordinary efforts of our students, faculty and staff.”

UT Knoxville’s report card included an A grade for the efforts made by the campus to address climate change and energy conservation, noting the 2 percent overall reduction in carbon and other emissions from 2005 to 2008. The report also highlighted the campus green power purchase, which is funded by a student environmental fee.

The report also gives an A to the high level of student involvement in campus sustainability activities. UT Knoxville has four different active student groups with a focus on sustainability or campus improvement issues, led by Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville, or SPEAK.

“Our students have made sustainability a campus tradition that stands right beside the Rock,” said Gordie Bennett, sustainability manager with UT Facilities Services. “Their leadership and Volunteer spirit is invaluable as we continue to set an example for campuses across the state and nation.”

In the past year, campus sustainability efforts at UT Knoxville were driven by the Switch Your Thinking campaign to reduce energy consumption on campus by 10 percent. In addition to energy savings, which reduce local pollution, the campaign has saved the university more than $1 million in energy costs.

UT Knoxville’s B grade for 2010 is an increase over the campus’ B- mark from a year ago. The only other Southeastern Conference institutions to match UT Knoxville’s grade were the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina.

For this academic year, UT Knoxville has introduced two new programs to encourage faculty, staff and students to take leadership in the Make Orange Green effort. The first, Friends of Switchie, is a program in which faculty and staff can encourage coworkers to be more energy efficient, and commit to turning off lights and equipment when not in use. A complementary program, called Hall Vols, empowers students living in campus residence halls to encourage their hallmates to recycle and conserve.

The full 2010 report from the Sustainable Endowments Institute can be found online at http://www.greenreportcard.org.

C O N T A C T :

Jay Mayfield, (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)

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