I’d love to make a difference
but what exactly is “sustainability?”
Sustainability is not a passing trend. Sustainability is the actions, behavior, and development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
OKAY, BUT HOW DO I MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
It all adds up. Do you turn off the lights when you leave the room? What about recycling your old class notes instead of throwing them away? Bike or take the bus instead of driving? Sure, maybe these don’t seem like they can save our planet on their own. But if we all make active decisions to change the little things, we are one step closer to conserving our natural resources and ensuring a healthier, more equal, and sustainable life for all.
Sustainability can and should be accessible to everyone. On campus and in our community, there are many ways to get involved. Not everyone has to join a group or go to a Climate March, but you can switch out a plastic water bottle with a reusable one. Sustainable practices are also healthy and safe! Biking and walking instead of driving keeps you healthy and decreases the amount of CO2 released into our air. The less excess CO2, the better and healthier the air quality for us. Being sustainable also saves money: and that’s important for students on a budget. Turning out your lights or refraining from blasting your AC in the summer not only helps our Earth by cutting down coal demand, but saves you every month on your bill!
Sustainability Tips for New and Returning Gophers
Remember the little things! Check out our list of easy ways to get started and be a more sustainable Gopher every day.
Read up on our past reports and commitments as the Office of Sustainability and learn more about sustainability efforts on campus with video teaching modules.
- Page 1
- Page 2
Our Sustainability Story
The University of Minnesota Office of Sustainability and the educational campaign It All Adds Up provides direction and coordination for sustainability initiatives in the Twin Cities. We are committed to reaching our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 through inclusive projects, cross-campus planning, partnerships, and working with the greater community.
Our goal is to create a culture of sustainable practices. We organize zero waste events at TCF Stadium and collaborate with departments on campus to retrofit buildings that reduce our carbon output.
We take pride in our ability to listen to students, staff, community members, and other stakeholders. Our office and efforts are not isolated.We invite everybody to join the conversation! It is key to our mission to remain accountable to the residents of the Twin Cities and include the broader campus community as we create a positive environmental impact.
In 2009, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents adopted a policy on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, stating:
“Sustainability is a continuous effort integrating environmental, social, and economic goals through design, planning, and operational organization to meet current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The University is committed to incorporating sustainability into its teaching, research, and outreach and the operations that support them.”
2004: Regents of the University of Minnesota adopts a policy on Sustainability
2006: Institute on the Environment Formed
2008: Former President Robert Bruiniks signs American Universities and Colleges Presidents Climate Commitment
2008: Systemwide Goals and Outcomes committee formed
2009: University of Minnesota Systemwide Sustainability Goals, Outcomes, Measures, and Process report released, highlighting the commitment to sustainability.
2010: Standing sustainability committees formed on all campus
2010: “It All Adds Up” campaign is expanded to include recycling and waste reduction
2011: Climate Action Plan Released, outlining strategies that will most effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.The sustainability committee developed a plan for cutting UMTC emissions in half by 2021 and reducing them to zero by 2050.
2012: Living Lab program established
2012: Boreas Graduate Leadership Program launched, which provides graduate students will skills to be effective environmental leaders.
2015: UMTC hosts the annual Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference.
2015: President Eric Kaler signs the White House Act on Climate Agreement, with hundreds of other higher education leaders, reaffirming the University’s commitment to address climate change.
2016: University of Minnesota partners with Cupanion Rewards to reduce waste on campus.
Solar Array Installed on the Twin Cities CampusAugust 9, 2020
Installation is now complete on the Twin Cities campus' ninth and final on-campus array of the solar project! This latest installation is located in the S104 lot in St. Paul, across from the State Fair transit hub, and will produce approximately 481,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That's enough to power about 45 average Minnesota homes.
Earth Day EcochallengeMay 11, 2020
As May wanders in, April draws to a close, and we all continue to practice social distancing, there is plenty of time to reflect on Earth Month and the Earth Day Ecochallenge. If you’re unfamiliar, the Ecochallenge was a virtual event that took place throughout the entirety of April. The Ecochallenge became a platform for all the UMN campuses to engage with one another and with the Earth itself during Earth Month.Read more...
Zero Waste TourMarch 5, 2020
On November 9th, the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities hosted a group of students from Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campuses, all interested in learning more about sustainability. Some of these students work in the sustainability offices at their respective campuses, some study it, and others are simply interested in sustainability and took the opportunity to learn more.Read more...
University of Minnesota Landcare Receives Grant for Electric Lawn EquipmentOctober 25, 2019
Did you know that “the amount of carbon monoxide emitted from a typical leaf blower for just 1 hour is equal to CO coming from the tailpipe of an automobile operating for over 8 hours, and for other pollutants, the amounts are even greater?” The time to switch from gas to electric lawn equipment is now, and that’s exactly what University of Minnesota landcare did.Read more...
Pioneer Hall RenovationSeptember 20, 2019
If you’ve been on campus the last two years, it’s likely you’ve witnessed the ever-changing appearance of Pioneer Hall. Renovations that started during the summer of 2017 were recently completed and the newly-improved residence hall was opened to new students this fall.Read more...