The University aspires to create a “living laboratory” in which the campus grounds are not only a backdrop of campus life, but an integral component of teaching, research, and outreach. The concept of a living laboratory is described in the Twin Cities Campus Master Plan and the Systemwide Sustainability Goals and Outcomes Report. As a living laboratory the campus grounds will be a medium for innovation, testing, demonstration, and learning.
The Twin Cities Sustainability Committee has developed a pilot process to facilitate identification and implementation of living laboratory projects. The Committee invites proposals from the University community to utilize campus grounds as a living laboratory. Selected proposals will be provided space on the campus grounds and assistance facilitating project implementation.
The Call for Proposals is open through March 27, 2015.
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents Policy: Sustainability and Energy Efficiency identifies the importance of the university community taking collective action to become a more sustainable organization. It calls for the incorporation of sustainability into research, teaching, and outreach, and the operations that support them.
It All Adds Up is the U's sustainability campaign. Designed to enlist the university community's help in making campus more sustainable, It All Adds Up encourages individual and collective actions to reduce our environmental impact, conserve resources and demonstrate
University Services creates and sustains a physical environment and service culture that advances teaching, research and outreach at the University of Minnesota. The department’s work encompasses the critical infrastructure and services needed to support the university’s mission and overall academic plan. More than 3,000 U Services employees support six major functions that are critical to the day-to-day operation of all University of Minnesota campuses, including Auxiliary Services, Capital Planning & Project Management, Facilities Management, Public Safety, University Health & Safety and Management Services.
U Services units ensure sustainability is integrated into business practices, providing an example for the rest of the university community. For example:
• Capital Planning & Project Management includes debris recycling in construction contracts.
• University Dining Services composts to reduce waste.
• Facilities Management and Housing & Residential Life purchase “green cleaners.”
• Parking & Transportation Services supports sustainable transportation options.
The U Service sustainability director and coordinator help lead and coordinate sustainability initiatives both in the Twin Cities and system-wide. It All Adds Up serves as a vital link connecting this sustainability work to the broader campus community.
In 2011, the Sustainable Endowments Initiative graded the University’s sustainability initiative efforts with straight "A's" — one of three schools across the nation to receive the honor.