Implementation Profile for George Washington University
Submitted on November 6, 2008; last updated on November 12, 2010
|Basic Carnegie Classification||RU/H: Research Universities (high research activity)|
|Community Setting||Large city|
|USDOE Climate Zone||4|
|Current President or Chancellor's Name||Steven Knapp|
|Current President or Chancellor's Title||President|
|Main Web Site||http://www.gwu.edu|
|Sustainability Web Site||http://www.sustainability.gwu.edu|
|Implementation Liaison's Name||Meghan Chapple-Brown|
|Implementation Liaison's Title||Director|
|Implementation Liaison's Department||Office of Sustainability|
|Format of Structure||Other|
|Number of Individuals in Structure||20|
|Stakeholder Groups Represented||Board, Community Leaders, Faculty, Students, , Executive, Community Members, Staff, Alumni|
In October 2007, President Knapp commissioned a Presidential Task Force on Sustainability to develop recommendations to enhance academic initiatives, improve university policies, and develop local, regional, and national partnerships in the areas of environmental stewardship and climate change. Comprised of a diverse group of GW constituents including four students, eight staff members, and three faculty members, the task force met weekly to discuss its findings and provided its recommendations to President Knapp on June 1 (http://www.sustainability.gwu.edu/pdf/taskforcereportandrecommendations.pdf). The Task Force on Sustainability has transformed into the Office of Sustainability supported by numerous faculty, staff and students on campus.
The Office of Sustainability encourages, facilitates, and coordinates sustainability initiatives while enhancing existing programs and practices across the university. The Sustainability Academics Implementation Team is working to establish the Institute for Sustainability Research and Education. The Institute will promote interdisciplinary curricular enhancements and research on a range of policy and social issues relating to sustainability. In addition, there are a number of organizations on campus focusing on sustainability. The role of the Office of Sustainability is to support and coordinate the sustainability efforts of these organizations.
The University's Climate Action Planning process brought together numerous stakeholders to devise and implement projects that will reduce the University's carbon footprint. The engagement structure is as follows:
The engagement structure is designed to capture innovative ideas from across the University and will incorporate GW students, faculty and staff. In order to achieve this objective, three different groups will contribute to the process, as follows:
Sustainability Leadership Council: This group is made up of University leadership and will champion the CAP effort, review recommendations and endorse final decisions regarding the University’s CAP implementation strategy.
Advisory Group: This group will be comprised of members of the original Sustainability Task Force along with additional representatives from various areas of the University. This group is responsible for bringing ideas for GHG mitigation to each of the implementation teams and providing feedback on implementation team plans. These individuals will also serve as representatives to the campus community for sustainability efforts and will assist in the implementation of behavior changing initiatives campus-wide.
CAP Implementation Team: Members of this group will include “team leads” from the following five implementation teams responsible for identifying ideas for GHG mitigation, evaluating ideas generated by all participants in the process and prioritizing strategies to be included in the CAP. The recommendations of the CAP Implementation Team will be vetted by the Leadership Council for decision making.
1. Curriculum and Research: Develops plan that both ensures climate change / sustainability are part of the curriculum and that enhances the level of faculty research aimed at addressing climate change.
2. Transportation: Focuses on plan for carbon neutrality in University fleet vehicles, commuting, and air travel.
3. Energy: Develops the energy conservation, on-site renewables, green power purchasing, and new construction/green design emissions reduction strategies and projects.
4. Communication and Community Outreach: Develops ongoing strategy for ensuring stakeholders are aware of CAP progress. Spans across working groups to create plans for encouraging cross-community behavioral changes required for CAP success.
5. Offsets: Evaluates and develops a University strategy for carbon offset. This team will take into consideration the potential for GW to participate in the carbon markets, to boost financial case for using offsets.
In addition,there are numerous student organizations dedicated to sustainability at GW including Green GW, Environmental Law Association, Students for Fair Trade, Progressive Student Union, the The Food Justice Alliance, Revolution Green LLC, GW Energy Club, Net Impact, and the Student Association.
Finally, there is a newly formed committed on the Board of Trustees who will serve as advisors on sustainability issues.
1. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
GW is committed to targeting the equivalent of LEED Silver on all new bildings, focusing on energy efficiency points. Target the Equivalent of LEED Silver on All New Buildings, Focusing on Energy Efficiency Points
2. Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.
Yes: Efforts are underway to develop and implement an ENERGY STAR purchasing policy.
3. Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.
No: A policy for offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution will be evaluated as the university engages in further study to develop its overall plan for climate neutrality.
4. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution.
The Foggy Bottom campus is a model of transit-oriented development principals because of its prime location to two Metrorail stations, numerous bus routes and downtown DC. Additionally, the university has a comprehensive transportation demand management plan that encourages the use of public transit by its students, faculty and staff.
5. Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution's electricity consumption from renewable sources.
No: A renewable energy purchasing policy will be evaluated as a part of the universitys overall plan for achieving climate neutrality.
6. Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institution's endowment is invested.
No: GW is currently invested in a number of projects which consider social, environmental, and governance factors. Such projects focus on thin-film solar and photovoltaic production, hydroelectric power generation, greenhouse gas credit market development, and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. GW will continue to explore renewable energy funds and similar investment vehicles. The universitys investment managers have been surveyed to determine their consideration of environmental, social, and governance factors in the investment decision-making process. Further, a policy for providing direction to GWs investment managers as to the appropriate consideration of social responsibility in investment decisions is under consideration.
7. Participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.
The university participates annually in the national RecycleMania competition.