- -, ,,55 , ..
hough you'll _never hear it
chanted on a football Satur-
day, those sporting the Maize
and Blue have gotten a lot bet-
ter at going green since Uni-
versity President Mary Sue
Coleman made sustainability
one of her four presidential
initiatives in 2009.
In a2011 address, Coleman re-emphasized the
importance of sustainable practices by announc-
ing the results of an Integrated Assessment,
which investigated and suggested improvements
for the University and made a $14 million invest-
ment toward four main areas on campus: climate
action, waste prevention, healthy environments
and community awareness.
She then set University-wide goals in each of
the areas to be reached by 2025, including cut-
ting greenhouse emissions by 25 percent and
purchasing 20 percent of all University food
from local and sustainable sources - a goal that
has already been reached.
To say that the University's focus on sustain-
ability has flourished since Coleman made it a
priority would be an understatement. Though
measuring progress on the sustainability ini-
tiative is often more subjective than whether
or not the campus smoking rate has declined
or more students are studying abroad - two of
Coleman's other initiatives - fiscal year 2013
marked the sixth consecutive year that energy
conservation measures saved millions of dollars,
according to an annual energy consumption
report. While public funding for many proj-
ects has decreased in recent years, the amount
of sustainability research-related funding has
increased by 200 percent since 2003.
Don Scavia, director of the Graham Environ-
mental and Sustainability Institute and special
counsel to the president on sustainability, said
since Coleman placed an emphasis on the issue,
projects at the University have begun snowball-
ing, and students have become more active than
ever in sustainability initiatives. The Graham
Institute's mission is to bring facets of campus
together on sustainability initiatives.
The difference even in just two years, he said,
is marked - evident in the growth of institutes,
enterprises, departments, student programs and
clubs at the University dedicated to sustainable
"There are very few places that have the kind
of programs we do here at Michigan, at the scale
we have here," Scavia said. "Michigan is so well-
positioned to deal with it."
But student efforts are just the tip of the ice-
berg when it comes to implementing tangible,
eco-friendly solutions. The growing sustain-
ability culture on campus addresses operations,
construction and behaviors, as well as under-
graduate and graduate programming. The
"green" efforts have touched the University
of Michigan Health System and the Michigan
Athletic Department facilities, all of which have
been influenced by the president's ambitious
Scavia said Coleman was moved to take
action after she realized that the environment
would be the defining issue for this generation.
"It's critically important. It's the kind of thing
we can't do casually - we have to focus on it,"
There are 640 sustainability-related course .
offerings at the University, reaching across
departments from the School of Art & Design
to the Ross School of Business, according to
the 2012 sustainability report. The Program in
the Environment major, often called PitE, has
been the fastest growing concentration at the
University for six years, according to Scavia,
and a minor in sustainability was added last
year to meet demand from students interested
in the topic.
Faculty across campus have incorporated
sustainability into their courses, an inter-
disciplinary approach that is critical if the
University wants to continue to prioritize sus-
tainability, according to Coleman.
"Sustainability is an area that presents
some of the most complex problems we face
- challenges that no single discipline will
solve," Coleman said in a recent statement to
The Michigan Daily. "We've positioned our
approach to be broad, including key research
activities and educating students how to apply
sustainability to all fields for the greatest
Mike Shriberg, the educational director of
the Graham Institute and a Program in the
Environment professor, said Coleman's pri-
oritization of sustainability allowed profes-
sionals and campus leaders interested in the
issue to pursue projects and research that oth-
erwise may not have come to fruition. While
many programs at the University have begun
incorporating sustainability into their courses,
broadening the interdisciplinary approach to
all corners of campus is his next objective.
Shriberg has been involved in sustainability
issues on campus for 15 years. He said, in the
past, there were "pockets of good activity,"
such as recycling and energy conservation
measures. However, he said having the presi-
dent of the University prioritize sustainability
allowed students, faculty and staff to pursue
ideas they otherwise may have considered pipe
"I think what President Coleman did was
take those initiatives, leverage them up to the
highest level and provide resources to advance
them," Shriberg said. "When the president
says, 'This is something I value,' it opens all
kinds of venues for students, faculty and staff
For Shriberg, the need for sustainability
isn't a niche topic or partisan issue - it's the
basis of existence, and needs to be a focus of a,
"The president of Cornell said sustainability
is the frame of the liberal arts education," he
said. "That's'what I believe and I think Presi-
dent Coleman has helped move it in that direc-
tion. It's not so much that it's more important
than any other issue, but it underlies every-
Scavia, too, said though there is little direct
top-down control at the University - which
was done specifically by administrators to
allow individual programs and colleges to do
as they see fit without running into bureau-
cratic red tape - Coleman setting sustainabil-
ity as a priority was critical to the progress the
University has seen in the past two years.
.So far, specific initiatives have largely
focused on changing individual behaviors on
campus, such as turning off lights and buying
sustainable produce, and basic institutional
changes, such as the purchase of seven hybrid
buses and the implementation of water refill
stations and "trayless" dining halls.
Last year, a campus farm was created at
the University's Matthaei Botanical Gardens
through the Sustainability & the Campus
course, which Shriberg teaches. Students also
created the "How to Be a Green Wolverine"
guidebook, which is available to all students
and provides tips on how to modify behaviors
for more sustainable living, produced using
recycled paper and ink. More than 10,000
guides were distributed in 2012.
Scavia said the University still needs to
improve on the operational side of sustainabil-
ity, which has proven difficult as the Univer-
sity continues to expand in size by one to two
percent each year. Total energy use increased
from 6.51 trillion BTUs in 2009 to 7.41 trillion
BTUs in 2012, though the amount used per
person per square foot of building space has
declined steadily by 22 percent since 2004,
showing a decreasing per capita ratio.
Additionally, 137 campus buildings con-
served energy in 2013, resulting in an 8.4-per-
cent energy use reduction.
Despite the continued expansion of exist-
ing facilities and construction of new ones, the
University helped to mitigate green gas emis-
sions from 2011 to 2012 through multiple chan-
nels, including expanding the North Campus
Chiller Plant, which saves money by serving
the whole area instead of relying on units in
each building. However, the original 2025
goal to decrease emissions by 25 percent still
stands. The University has reduced its waste
tonnage by about 1 percent according to the
2012 sustainability report - its goal is to hit 40
percent by 2025.
Certain sustainability measures, such as
carbon neutrality, are not feasible because of
the University's mission as a research institu-
tion and the continual need for improved lab
spaces and facilities, Scavia said.
"There's always an interesting balance
between our mission and these goals," Scavia
That's not to say sustainability initiatives
in operations have not been undertaken. On
the contrary, various energy conservation and
waste reduction measures have been success-
ful. Five buildings on campus are LEED certi-
fied - including C.S. Mott Children's and Von
Voigtlander Women's Hospital, the Business
School, the Dana Building (home of the PitE
program), Crisler Center and the Law School's
South Hall - meaning they have achieved the
highest marks in human and environmental
health standards as verified by a third party.
The Dana building is Gold LEED certified,
as is Crisler Center, which is the second-high-
est level of LEED certification.
Since June 2010, all new construction proj-
ects undertaken at the University that exceed
$10 million must attain at least a Silver LEED
certification, according to Andrew Berki, the
manager of the University's Office of Campus
Berki, who has led the Office of Campus
Sustainability since its creation in 2009, said-
though Michigan has led strong environmen-
tal efforts for years, Coleman's development of
University-wide sustainable goals was a criti-
cally important step forward.
"President Coleman's support and endorse-
the Athletic Department Sustainability Com-
mittee. Since then, the Athletic Department
has adopted a four-pronged approach to sus-
tainability, including waste reduction and
recycling; energy efficiency and sustainable
building infrastructure; water conservation
and chemical usage; and education and aware-
Energy efficiency is the department's biggest
focus, as energy saving measures not only help
the environment - they save money. Crisler
Center's Gold LEED'certification is a point of
pride for the department, Dunlop said, and
future construction projects will continue to
focus on sustainable measures.
According to statistics on the office of Cam-
pus Sustainability's website, each home game
at Michigan Stadium generates an average of
18 tons of waste, one-fifth of which is diverted
from landfills thanks to the efforts of the Uni-
versity of Michigan Football Stadium Recy-
cling Program, which was initiated in 1994.
Overall, in fiscal year 2012, more than one mil-
lion pounds of total waste were collected from
athletic facilities, including Michigan Stadium,
of which 40.8 percent was recycled.
Student Athletes for Sustainability, created
by Law student Courtney Mercier, a former
Michigan women's soccer player, was devel-
oped in 2012 to connect student athletes with
officials involved in sustainability initiatives,
and seeks to educate other student athletes on
the issues. A representative from the student
organization also sits on the Athletic Depart-
ment Sustainability Committee.
Though he acknowledged there is alot more
Athletics can and will do on the sustainability
front, Dunlop said in just 18 months, the Ath-
letic Department has made significant strides
in improving its practices.
"We went from literally not doing anything
to developing a plan, to organizing a commit-
tee, to putting it into action, to seeing results,"
he said. "We've really come a long way in a
short amount of time. I don't see sustainability
as a target, we've done it and we're done with it.
It's an ongoing part of our operations."
On the other side of campus, the University
of Michigan Health System was named one of
the 50 greenest hospitals in the United States
by Becker's Hospital Review earlier this year.
The recognition comes after UMHS com-
pleted 12 energy conservation projects in 2012,
including installing advanced air handling unit
controls and restructuring heating and cooling
schedules, accordingto UMHS's website.
Increasing sustainable practices in the Uni-
versity's hospital system is a priority for the
University has shown improvement in cur-
riculum, research and operations, the move
toward greater sustainability won't end when
she leaves Ann Arbor in July.'
"While I'm proud of what our university has
accomplished during my tenure, our commit-
ment to sustainability has deep roots," Coleman
said. "We continue to build on the solid founda-
tion laid before and I anticipate much more to
come from U-M in the world of sustainability."
Sustainability will continue to be an impor-
tant issue for the next president to address,
building on Coleman's strong foundation.
"Who would be opposed to it?" Scavia asked.
Shriberg said working with peer institutions
such as Yale, Princeton and Harvard is one of
the best courses of action to further the objec-
tives of this "collective social goal." Addition-
ally, further integration across campus will be
vital for sustainable technologies to evolve.
"I think President Coleman has put a tre-
mendous amount of effort into a framework to
build from," Shriberg said.
Berki said students can expect to see addi-
tional hybrid buses added to the fleet as more
of the existing diesel buses are replaced. The
Office ofCampus Sustainability will also switch
from synthetic pesticides and herbicides to
more organic options for campus's green spac-
es, including the golf courses and lawn around
the Diag. There will be a continued push to
increase the purchase of locally grown sustain-
"This is something we're really looking for
in the next president, someone who's really
focused on this and wants to advance the con-
cept of sustainability on campus," O'Connell
said. "(Coleman) prefaced it well and is going <j
pass if off to the next president, I think, in good
Still, O'Connell said there is much room for
improvement when the next president comes.
Specifically, she encourages the president to
consider longer-term changes beyond increas-
ing the number ofrecyclingbins on campus. "'M
Following the example set by Ann Arbor City
Council, O'Connell hopes administrators invest
more in renewable energy sources and divest
from fossil fuel industries, though she admits
this is easier said than done.
"I would like to see a president who's think-
ing higher up," she said. "Looking through more
of a lens that's for the longterm, so how are we
going to benefit students 50 years from now?"
O'Connell and Shriberg emphasized the
importance of fostering student opportunities
in sustainability to help catalyze a larger cul-
tural shift in this generation toward creating.e
more sustainable planet.
Students, O'Connell said, will be key to the
success of initiatives and larger scale environ-
mental projects, regardless of their school or
"The creativity and the passion thatstudents
have here is what's really important," she said.
ment from the very top administrative level At the Big House, organic waste from food Office of Campus Sustainability, according to able foods for use in residence halls. = ~'
definitely pushed us to a whole new level," he preparation is being composted for the first Berki, though these implementations will face Additional projects are in the works, Berki Above left: Additional hybrid buses will
said. time this year. Dunlop said while the depart- unique problems, as hospital waste cannot be said, adding that cutting green house gas emis- soon join the campus fleet to replace diesel
ment does a fairly good job on current waste disposed of as easily as other waste. To com- sions will continue to be a priority.
reduction and recycling measures, one of its bat this, the University will work with vendors "We've had a lot of support from President buses, according to Andrew Berki, the man-
long-term goals is to look at large-scale waste who can provide more easily recyclable sup- Coleman, and we're excited about new lead- ager of the University's Office of Campus
i reduction and zero-waste events. plies, such as IV bags. ership coming in because we feel it's a very Sustainability. TERESA MATHEW/Daily
While Athletics hosted a zero-waste men's "We're on the brink of doing some things important issue for them and for the institu- Above: President Mary Sue Coleman
Though many units across campus have soccer game against Akron in October, Dunlop over there to really take a look to try to reduce tion," Berki said.
enthusiastically adopted Coleman's sustain- and Scavia said any hopes of a zero-waste foot- some of the things coming out-of their waste LSA senior Libby O'Connell, a PitE peer announced her sustainability initiative in a
ability cause, perhaps none have done so as vis- ball game are not feasible at the moment. streams," Berki said. advisor and a member of the PitE Club and 2011 address. Coleman set University-wide
ibly as the Michigan Athletic Department. "Michigan Stadium is so iconic, and if we're EnAct - an Environmental Activism student goals, ranging from reducing greenhouse
Athletic Director Dave Brandon has pushed going to do it, we need to make sure that it organization - said sustainability is a major emissions to purchasing University food
sustainability to the forefront of athletic works," Scavia said. oo r g i W U issue when determining Coleman's successor.
operations in the past two years, according to "We're still in a study phase of that," Dunlop O'Connell said Coleman will leave a sustain- from local and sustainable sources.
Facilities Manager Paul Dunlop, the chair of said. In a statement, Coleman said though the able legacy for the next president to inherit. TERRA MOLENGRAFF/Daily -