USM Environmental Sustainability and
Climate Change Initiative
What is the System Office doing to
implement this Initiative?
University System of Maryland is focused on becoming a leader of environmental sustainability
and climate change in the State. This
effort, which is highlighted in the resources available here on our USM Sustainability web pages will
involve the System Office in two different, yet complementary ways.
everyone at USM will play a role of some kind in energizing and supporting the climate-related
efforts at our institutions whose presidents have all now signed the American College and University Presidents Climate
Commitment. This significant step
requires continual and publicly-reported progress toward the ultimate goal of "climate
neutrality" (i.e., zero net production of greenhouse gases). The USM Office is poised to help provide
guidance, support, training, resources and encouragement to all campuses in
three general areas: (1) operational practices; (2) academic and research
programs; and (3) the development of related policies at both the System and
USM Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Initiative
lead by example, System office employees will be encouraged to participate in
this initiative by making environmentally friendly changes throughout the
office. Conserving energy is the
single-most effective hedge against the proliferation of carbon in our
atmosphere. Plans are already underway in
Elkins to reduce the use of overhead artificial lighting in favor of
less-costly task lighting and enhanced use of (free) natural light. Motion sensor switches, more efficient power
supplies, and better fluorescent bulbs are also being considered. Computers in the building are being adjusted
to hibernate when not in use and employees are being encouraged to turn them
off when they leave for the day. When
necessary, appliances and equipment are being replaced with energy-efficient
("Energy Star" rated) units. All these
efforts will not only reduce our "carbon footprint," but will reduce operating
costs at the same time.
notice more recycling bins in more places throughout the Elkins Building.
We use them and encourage our guests to do the same, as recycling is extremely
effective in helping reduce, not only potential carbon emissions, but the
detrimental effect of solid waste in our landfills. Water conservation through use of more
efficient fixtures and systems within the building are also being
considered. As with energy, the benefits
in saving water are both environmental and economic.
policies will be modified to help make it easier for staff in the building to
help reduce their environmental impact while on the road. Teleworking, enhanced use of public
transportation and schedule modifications intended to reduce the climate impact
of Elkins-bound commuters are being discussed.
An increased use of existing communication technologies like IVN and
telephone conferencing will also help reduce the need for putting cars on the
road every time there is a System-wide meeting. Obviously steps like this require time and
careful deliberation before being implemented. What matters, however, is that we all work
together to keep thinking in this direction.
Please send your ideas and comments regarding campus
sustainability to email@example.com