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October 7, 2009
By Claudene Wharton
The University of Nevada, Reno faired very well in a recent “College Sustainability Report Card,” which rated college’s sustainability practices, such as creating green building initiatives and instituting recycling programs. Nevada earned a B+ on its report card, which was comprised of 48 indicators as assessed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in its “2010” report card.
Only 26 of the 332 institutions profiled received a better grade than Nevada’s B+. Those 26 schools received an A-; there were no A’s or A+’s. About 35 other schools also earned a B+, putting Nevada in the company of universities such as MIT and Dartmouth. The rest of the field received lower grades.
“We’re very pleased with all the work we’ve done here over the past several years to make our campus more sustainable,” said John Sagebiel, the University’s environmental affairs manager. “Ongoing efforts of many people – students, faculty and staff, along with business partners in the community – have really gelled. We appreciate the recognition of those efforts and will continue to strive to do even more to preserve our environment and resources for future generations.”
Sagebiel credits the work of the University’s Sustainability Committee and Facilities Services department for much of the success. He also pointed out that two years ago President Milton Glick enrolled the University as one of the charter signatories to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, committing the University to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases created on campus and supporting more sustainable, climate-neutral practices.
This week’s recognition comes on the heels of the University being awarded $951,500 last week from the Department of Energy for continued sustainability initiatives on campus. Sagebiel said that the funds will be used for “projects on the ground,” including expansion of current recycling efforts and increasing energy efficiency by replacing some outdoor lighting with high-efficiency or LED lights, for example. In addition, the grant will fund installation of another renewable energy system, in addition to the solar panels on the Joe Crowley Student Union. The newest University greenhouse on Valley Road was built to accommodate solar panels, so Sagebiel said that’s one building they’re considering for the project.