USM Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Initiative

B KirwanWelcome From the Chancellor
Chancellor Kirwan attends 2009 G8 University Summit

Latest Report: USM progress toward State Environmental Goals

As I considered issues I truly wanted to focus on in the time I have remaining as chancellor, the importance of environmental stewardship became an obvious choice. Not only is this an issue of particular importance to Maryland, home to the Chesapeake Bay, it also is an arena in which the University System of Maryland (USM) is positioned to be a key leader.

USM is uniquely suited to help our state, our region, our nation, and our world come to terms with the impact of global climate change and related environmental concerns. When you consider our educational impact, research programs, community outreach, and commitment to "best practices," I can think of no entity in our state better positioned to lead on the vital and complex issues of climate change. 

My goal is for USM to bring its resources to bear in three critical areas:


It is important that USM institutions make every effort to employ environmentally friendly practices on our campuses. Building upon specific efforts already under way, I envision a broad system-wide strategy for campus sustainability and energy efficiency, including guidelines for new facility design and renovation.
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USM Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Initiative

USM Campus Best Practices


We also have an obligation to use our educational and research capabilities to advance environmental understanding and action. At USM institutions, you will find undergraduate and graduate programs focused on environmental issues as well as cutting-edge environmental research, led by the University of Maryland Center of Environmental Science. There are also several other USM centers addressing climate change, many boasting key federal partners such as NASA, NOAA, and EPA. 
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Beyond the impact we have on our campuses, in our classroom, and at our research facilities, USM institutions are contributing their expertise to the state of Maryland as it develops new environmental policies. As the need for public policy actions concerning the environment grow, USM will have increased opportunity to help the state and the nation if we prepare now.  
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I would like to hear from you.  What is your opinion on the areas and focus I have outlined for this system-wide initiative?  What do you think we can do together to advance this area of mutual concern? Please send your ideas and comments regarding campus sustainability to

As I consider the remainder of my tenure as chancellor, I find such an effort to be worthwhile and imperative.  

William E. ("Brit") Kirwan, Chancellor

University System of Maryland

Based on remarks given by Chancellor Kirwan at the Seminar on Sustainability, held at Frostburg State University on September 15, 2007.

USM National Green Campus News

Week of January 20, 2014

News from Across the USM Campuses

Jan. 27th - Deadline to Register - Compete this spring in RecycleMania 2014 - Sign up to compete this Spring! Are you ready for RecycleMania 2014? Join over 500 colleges and universities across the US and Canada participating to see who can recycle and reduce the most. RecycleMania (RM) is a friendly competition designed to rally students and staff in a fun, team spirited way while raising awareness about recycling and zero waste. Schools track how much they recycle and compost between February and March 2014 and watch how they rise and fall in the weekly updated rankings. Challenge your school's sports rivals to another competition or simply use your own benchmarked performance to rally the campus to reach a higher level. Game On!

Feb. 15th - EnviroFest "6 Degrees of Sustainability" - This event will be held from 9:00am - 4:30pm at the West Village Commons Ballroom, on the campus of Towson University. EnviroFest is an exciting environmental conference designed to raise awareness among students, faculty and staff about environmental topics, issues, and solutions including the importance of sustainability. This year's conference theme is "6 Degrees of Sustainability" - 1st Degree - In the Home;  2nd Degree - In Business; 3rd Degree - In the Community; 4th Degree - In Health Care; 5th Degree - In Politics and 6th Degree - In College/Education. The Keynote Speaker is Sam Davdison, presenting "Cool People Who Care." For the list of presenters, workshops, and more information please visit

SU Students Fund Clean Water Well in Ethiopia (Salisbury University Press Release, 1/15/14)

State of Maryland News

March 2nd - 5th - Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference - The sharing economy: no place is this more evident than on our campuses.  Students are rethinking vehicle ownership, swapping clothes, trading books, and participating in MOOCs.  In other words, finding ways to make their limited funds go further.  Campuses must also find opportunities to conserve limited resources, make college more affordable, and make our communities more resilient to economic and environmental change.  A sharing economy is leading to more sustainable consumption, operations, services, and lifestyles in our communities and on our campuses.  Come share with us. This conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, in downtown Baltimore, MD.

Governor O'Malley Announces New Tree Program for Maryland Landowners (Maryland Department of Natural Resources - AccessDNR, 1/21/14)

Natural Resources Police: Protecting and Preserving the Waters we Love (The Office of Governor Martin O'Malley, Governor's Blog, 1/17/14)

National and International News

Act Now or Pay the Heaviest Price, Warns Leaked Climate Report: 'Explicit efforts' must be taken to reduce emissions (By Jacob Chamberlain,, 1/17/14)

This Warped Map Shows Global Warming's Biggest Offenders (By John Metcalfe, The Atlantic Cities Blog, 1/17/14)

Emails reveal UK helped shale gas industry manage fracking opposition: Government officials accused of cheerleading for fracking by sharing 'lines to take' and meeting for post-dinner drinks (By Damian Carrington, The [UK] Guardian, 1/17/14)

House Republicans Pick Climate Skeptic To Head Environment Subcommittee (By Kate Sheppard, The Huffington Post - Politics Blog, 1/16/14)

What Gives? Climate Warnings Up, Corporate News Climate Coverage Down

Study shines light on failure of major news outlets to adequately cover global warming (By Jon Queally,, 1/16/14)

Pregnant Women Warned Not To Drink Water 48 Hours After West Virginia Told Residents It Was Safe (By Kiley Kroh, - Climate Progress Blog, 1/16/14)

Extreme Red Flag Fire Warnings Across Southern California, As Drought And Wind Fuel Fire (By Ari Phillips, - Climate Progress Blog, 1/16/14)

Canadian Support Of Keystone XL Pipeline Is Falling, New Poll Says (By Katie Valentine, - Climate Progress Blog, 1/16/14)

WikiLeaks Exposes What Obama's Secret Trade Deal Would Do To The Environment (By Kate Sheppard, The Huffington Post - Green Blog, 1/15/14)

Massive Antarctic Glacier Has Entered Irreversible Melt, Could Add Up To 1 Centimeter To Sea Level (By Ari Phillips, - Climate Progress Blog, 1/13/14)

Archived News