Mines Struggles to Begin Sustainability Efforts

The Sustainability Committee on campus serves to promote sustainability at Mines. It works to direct research, teaching, and facilities towards environmental impact awareness.

According to Kathryn Roberts who has served on the committee and works closely with the group, “It’s never really gotten off of the ground.” Roberts explained that the committee has recently made the switch to having people who are directly tied to and passionate about sustainability.

Mines is a member of the Association        for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education which serves as a rating system for colleges based upon their sustainability efforts in academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration.
While Mines is a member, it has never gone through the official self-reporting system for receiving a “Star” rating. “The problem is that nobody is keeping track of everything so reporting would be very difficult. There’s no driving force that requires all of the departments and efforts to document what they are doing,” said Roberts.

During the summer, Roberts performed an unofficial evaluation on Mines for the committee to use to report back to the administration on where the school currently stands with sustainability. “I interviewed a lot of people all around campus. I interviewed administration, faculty, and staff. Everything seems to be indirectly related to the idea of sustainability. There are things that are being done, but there’s not a big, cohesive movement.”

Roberts pointed out that the schools that have received ratings like CU Boulder and CSU in Fort Collins have an office of sustainability, a director of sustainability, and/or a school of sustainability. Roberts stated, “We need to have a structure and an explicit initiative.”

The head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gregory Jackson, who recently became a member of the Sustainability Committee calls for the committee to be more visible to the campus. He stated, “The Sustainability Committee needs to be a vehicle by which the campus engages through. The way to begin this is by having the campus put a little money behind student lead initiatives. I would like to see our campus commit funds to this. Students need to be excited about our tagline so that it becomes part of the experience at Mines.”

'Mines Struggles to Begin Sustainability Efforts' has 1 comment

  1. November 12, 2016 @ 9:31 pm dave pacific

    Good reporting work by the Oredigger/Natalie Zimmerman in investigating the status of sustainability at Mines.
    President Johnson can speak to his experience at Arizona State University where the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability draws upon many faculty members in the Ira Fulton Schools of Engineering who have expertise in green building, solar energy, energy policy, decision making, entrepreneurship, human values, water resource management, etc.
    Mines of course has many faculty members with expertise variously in the many separate subsets of sustainability, and needs an enlightened donor like Julie Ann Wrigley to fund a “mother ship” Institute of Sustainability that would link together faculty members and project proposals and actual projects.


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