Sustainability at Miami: Internal Progress Report FY 2020

Executive Summary 

Submitted to President Crawford July 1, 2020

For a copy of the full 14-page document, contact Adam Sizemore, director of sustainability, at sizemod3@miamioh.edu  or Susan Meikle, News and Communications, at meiklesb@miamioh.edu.

This report reviews activity of the Miami University Sustainability Committee during the FY2020, updates the University's progress toward the 2016 Sustainability Commitments and Goals, and outlines actions the Sustainability Committee as well as the Office of Sustainability plan to take during FY2021. 

In June 2019, the Sustainability Committee submitted a new sustainability vision to President Crawford, with recommendations that included encouraging Miami to create a plan for carbon neutrality. 

The vision was a direct result of President Crawford’s charge to the committee to prepare a new plan for sustainability that would reinforce Miami’s commitment towards sustainability that leveraged past successes yet set forth new aspirations. 

In February 2020, the Committee submitted a subsequent report which recommended that President Crawford join over 400 other higher education institutions and sign the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (PCLC) and create a Climate Action Plan Task Force whose mission will be to develop a plan for carbon neutrality. 

The Committee determined that signing the PCLC could be the catalyst to engage the entire University community in developing a plan for carbon neutrality.  

The President accepted this recommendation and planned to sign the PCLC on April 22, 2020, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.  The signing was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to remote learning. The President did, however, name Jonathan Levy (Director of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability) and Adam Sizemore (Sustainability Director) as co-chairs of the CAP Task Force and plans to sign the PCLC when the University returns to on-campus learning.

Miami made many other significant achievements related to sustainability during the FY2020. Some noteworthy ones include the following:

  • Reduced energy-based carbon emissions by 51% per/gsf over a 2008 baseline.
  • Achieved Gold LEED certification for Scott and Minnich Halls, bringing the University’s total number of LEED buildings to 29, which accounts for 28.3% of the gross square footage of buildings on the Oxford campus.
  • Created the Student Sustainability Council to serve as an umbrella organization coordinating efforts of all student organizations focused on sustainability-related work.
  • Improved efforts to communicate sustainability-related information internally and externally by enhancing Miami University’s Sustainability website, improving social media platforms, and drafting news stories about significant achievements.

Moving forward, the Sustainability Committee and Office of Sustainability will continue to support the University’s commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

We will continue to meet monthly, virtually if necessary, to focus on three goals: 

(1) finalize and implement the new 2020 commitments and goals proposed in the University’s new sustainability vision,

(2) continue to improve communication across campus and throughout the community to ensure Miami’s sustainability efforts are well-documented and transparent, and

(3) support the efforts of the Climate Action Plan Task Force, as well as other entities that are striving to ensure Miami fulfills its mission as an academic institution.

While the COVID-19 pandemic created uncertainty at levels no one could have ever anticipated, the Committee is dedicated to supporting the University’s efforts to remain a thriving institution.