24, 2005 CAMPUS SUSTAINABILITY DAY TO FEATURE
AWARDS, EXHIBITS, FOOD, REPORT
By Chancellor James Moeser The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill for The Chapel Hill Herald
Hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and administrators
are expected to gather at Rams Head Plaza from 11 a.m. to
2 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 26) to celebrate the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Campus Sustainability
Opened in March, Rams Head Plaza is the site of the first
"green" or vegetated roof on campus. Formerly a
surface parking lot in a bowl south of Kenan Memorial Stadium,
this space now hosts a three-level parking garage, topped
with a grassy plaza planted with trees. A dining hall and
recreation center are on the plaza level, and the nation’s
second largest campus grocery store is at street level.
Some 8,000 residential students live within a half-mile walk
of the facility. In moving from the surface lot to the grass-covered
deck, the total number of parking spaces on the site increased
from 398 to 707.
"Sustainable policies, practices and curricula represent
smart business," said Nancy Suttenfield, vice chancellor
for finance and administration at UNC. "We want to educate
our students for current and future challenges and demonstrate
good stewardship in our daily operations and planning."
Suttenfield will receive the 2005 Campus Sustainability Report
at the event, and she and Roger Perry, a member of UNC’s
Board of Trustees, will present awards to people and programs
that have contributed significantly to UNC’s sustainability
The 2001 campus master plan has been essential in directing
campus growth. The plan, which guides the site selection and
design of new buildings, and its implementation were recognized
this year with an Excellence in Planning and Architecture
Merit Award from the Society for College and University Planning
and the American Institute of Architects. The award jury said
it was impressed by "how much has been accomplished on
this project. The setting is very complex and the proposals
rise to the occasion."
Other activities planned for the ceremony are exhibits, information
booths and free local and organic food.
The report references many campuswide accomplishments in
For example, at the request of students, a sustainability
minor has been developed and is working its way through the
approval process. Courses would include environmental science,
public policy, business and planning.
At Kenan-Flagler Business School, master of business administration
students learn environmental and social impact management
by selecting the concentration in sustainable enterprise.
The core "sustainable strategy" class is now offered
in the executive MBA program and will soon be available to
undergraduate business students. Graduate students in planning
and public health are among the first nationwide to study
how community design can encourage physical activity.
Among other sustainability-oriented developments at UNC and
mentioned in the 2005 report, new construction projects are
applying Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The
School of Nursing’s Carrington Hall addition, site of
another vegetated roof, is the first campus project to register
for LEED certification in the 16-campus University of North
Carolina system. UNC’s N.C. Botanical Garden is striving
for a LEED platinum rating – the highest level available
– for its planned Visitor Education Center.
Recycling rates at UNC have reached 41 percent, the report
said. By keeping bottles, cans and paper products out of the
landfill, the university avoids $210,000 in transportation
costs and landfill tipping fees annually, said Cynthia Pollock
Shea, director of UNC’s Sustainability Office. Recycling
lead and non-PCB lighting ballasts avoids another $88,000
in disposal fees, she added.
On construction projects, the 2005 report said, contractors
submit recycling figures with their invoices. At least 50
percent of construction and demolition debris is recycled
on every project.
UNC students have twice voted to raise student fees $4 per
semester – in February 2003 and February 2005, the second
time for a period of four years – to invest in renewable
energy infrastructure. During a six-year period which began
in 2004, the students will invest $1.1 million in renewable
energy technologies. The first project funded will provide
solar-heated water to students in the renovated Morrison Residence
Hall. The fee also introduced biodiesel fuel into the Point-2-Point
bus fleet that serves students at night.
The report mentions fare-free transit, begun in 2002 and
funded by the university, and the towns of Chapel Hill and
Carrboro. Since 2002, bus ridership has increased 61 percent,
and an estimated more than 5 million rides are provided annually.
Additionally, an estimated 3,500 members of the university
community participate in the free Commuter Alternatives Program,
which provides emergency rides home and discounts from local
merchants. At least 700 on-campus parking spaces have been
released as a result, saving commuters $300,000 annually in
parking costs alone.
"Achieving the triple bottom line of environmental quality,
economic vitality and social justice is a process of continuous
improvement that applies to all organizations," said
Shea. "At UNC-Chapel Hill, this challenged is embraced
by both the academic and operational sides of campus. Students,
staff, faculty and administrators are applying their intelligence,
creativity and good will to make Carolina a sustainability