This past November, members of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Sustainability Committee launched the university’s first Sustainability Master Plan.
The plan, which was facilitated by the Verdis Group and led by representatives from across campus as well as the Omaha community, identifies new policies and practices that can be implemented by UNO that are environmentally friendly, socially responsible, financially feasible and will benefit the campus now and into the future.
To share this plan, members of the Sustainability Committee are holding a series of seven weekly brown bag sessions that highlight each of the areas in which UNO is committed to sustainability.
Campus and community members are invited to come and provide input to help make our future more sustainable. This strategic focus area affects everyone.
Interested students, faculty, staff and members of the Omaha community are encouraged to attend. The forums will take place in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free parking available in front of the building. Coffee provided.
Session objectives include:
Take deep dive into each section of the UNO Sustainability Master plan
Discuss, prioritize and generate input for implementing the strategies identified for each section.
Record input to share with decision-makers during implementation phases; share summary with forum attendees.
Turn strategies into workable plans to make our campus and community more sustainable
Dates and topics of the forums are as follows:
January 28 (OPPD Dialog Rooms) – Community Engagement
February 11 (Rooms 201/205) – Water and Sustainable Sites
February 18 (OPPD Dialog Rooms) – Materials, Waste and Recycling
February 25 (OPPD Dialog Rooms) – Campus Culture
March 4 (OPPD Dialog Rooms) – Campus Planning and Mobilit
March 13 (Rooms 205/209) – Academics and Research
- March 18 (Rooms 201/205) – Energy, Buildings and Emissions
Implementing the Sustainability Master Plan
Since the Sustainability Master Plan was introduced, several of the committee’s recommendations have already begun to be implemented on campus, including expanding UNO’s MavRide transit pass program to additional students and employees, expanding UNO’s Zipcar program for departmental use, partnering with the Zimride ride sharing programing this month and the establishment of an “Emergency Ride Home” option for transit or ride-sharing users.
"The Sustainability Master Plan is a living guide for helping us realize our long-term vision,” explained Patrick Wheeler, Senior Environmental Specialist. “It builds on our past successes, informs the actions we take today and guides our future by helping us to integrate sustainability – concern for people, the environment, and fiscal responsibility – into everything we do."
Over the next several decades, the plan seeks to have the UNO campus be carbon neutral, to ensure all water is used efficiency, increase the number of green product purchases and divert as much waste as possible away from landfills.
The Sustainability Master Plan is a product of UNO’s focus on key campus priorities in anticipation of enrolling 20,000 students by the year 2020. One such priority is sustainability, which has manifested through recent campus honors such as being named an Arbor Day Tree Campus USA for the past four years and LEED Gold certification for the College of Business Administration’s Mammel Hall.
Additionally, UNO recently named Steve Rodie, professor of biology and environmental studies, as director for the UNO Center for Urban Sustainability, which looks to align UNO coursework and academic research and community engagement in order to address key regional and national urban issues.
“The Center for Urban Sustainability strongly supports the internalization of sustainability to campus facilities, organizations, and quality-of-life as reflected in the Sustainability Master Plan,” Rodie said. “The Plan is a guide for UNO to practice what it preaches, and in doing so, further enhance student, faculty, staff and community awareness of just what sustainability looks like, why it’s important, and what it can mean to UNO’s bottom line.”
For more information on UNO’s sustainability efforts, visit http://www.unomaha.edu/sustainability.
For media inquiries or questions, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at 402.554.2129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.