Five new things for sustainability at Miami this fall

From the new Climate Action Task Force to sustainability during the pandemic


350 geothermal wells are under Upper Pond (photo by Scott Kissell).

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications

A year of progress and planning by the Miami University sustainability committee will advance sustainability even further this year.

The committee, led by Helaine Alessio, chair and professor of kinesiology, and Suzanne Zazycki, associate director of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability, recently submitted its FY 2020 annual report to President Greg Crawford. The report includes actions the sustainability committee and the office of sustainability plan to take during FY 2021. 

Read the 2020 Sustainability Annual Report on the sustainability website: data and reports.

Five new things about sustainability:

  1. Sustainability during the pandemic: The overall principle guiding the safe return to campus is to protect the health of our community. We recognize that the shift in some campus practices and operations will impact how we advance sustainability. Notably, the change in procedures for Dining on Campus will lead to an increase in single-use pulp-based disposable containers in the landfill stream. Just as notably, not using reusable dishes and serving ware will lead to a reduction in the energy and water use used for dishwashing. "Sometimes we must forgo sustainability to increase resiliency," Adam Sizemore, director of sustainability said. "Post-pandemic, we aim to find ways to promote both."
  2. PCLC – Committing to carbon neutrality and climate resilience: President Crawford will sign the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (PCLC) Climate Commitment, the most comprehensive of the PCLC. A public signing event will be held in collaboration with the City of Oxford signing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy on Sept. 22.
  3. Climate Action Task Force (CATF): As one of the first requirements for the PCLC Climate Commitment, a Climate Action Task Force is being established. Co-chairs Jonathan Levy and Adam Sizemore have been appointed; executive steering committee members have been invited for 12 focus areas and subcommittees will be formed this fall.
  4. Sustainability, social justice: President Crawford established the President’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force this summer. The task force is now transitioning to an implementation group. Subcommittees address the five pillars of Crawford’s charge, including sustainability-related themes of social justice. 
  5. Climate Action, Resilience Plans focus areas: The CATF will incorporate all aspects of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and climate resilience in a climate action plan and a resilience plan. Focus areas for the resilience plan include healthy communities and racial justice.

Visit the Sustainability at Miami website for more information.

Follow Miami University sustainability on social media:sustainability-miami