October 06, 2020

Solar Panels on Campus

University Unveils Campus Sustainability Plan During Campus Sustainability Month

October is Campus Sustainability Month -- an international celebration of sustainability in higher education. Colleges and universities organize events and initiatives highlighting their campus’ commitments to sustainability. Catholic University of America is kicking off the celebration this year by unveiling a 5-year sustainability plan. 

Campus Sustainability Plan 

The University recently released a 5-year sustainability plan. The plan is inspired by programs implemented at similar higher education institutions. The initiatives and actions listed in the plan are intended to generate positive environmental change, promote education and research, preserve resources, raise awareness, reduce expenditures, generate exciting dialogue, and create new Catholic University community engagement touchpoints. This Plan will have a beneficial impact on the University and the world. 

Previous sustainability efforts have established a foundation for environmental stewardship at Catholic University. The new plan establishes a new sustainability baseline that responds to recent turning-point events and science-based targets. 

With a renewed campus-wide focus on sustainability, Catholic University can achieve these environmental targets:

  • 20% reduction in carbon emissions
  • 20% reduction in energy
  • 50% waste diversion rate
  • 20% reduction in water

The Plan also includes goals such as increasing LEED certifications, deepening community engagement through environmental leadership, encouraging health and wellness initiatives, and promoting alternative transportation. 

Several community members provided input on the Plan including University leadership,  students, faculty, and staff. Subject matter experts including the Catholic Climate Covenant and the U.S. Green Buildings Council also weighed in to ensure the Plan was in line with peers. 

Celebrating Campus Sustainability Month 

To celebrate Campus Sustainability month, the Facilities Maintenance and Operations department has created a series of virtual events, “Wednesday Wisdom,” which focus on different sustainability topics on Wednesday afternoons with guest speakers. October topics will include Energy Efficiency Day (Oct. 7), Campus Trees (Oct. 14), and a deep dive into the Sustainability Plan (Oct. 21). Check out the events on the Nest.   

Facilities Maintenance and Operations also launched a Sustainability Pledge open to all students, faculty, and staff. The pledge encourages signers to take 10 simple steps towards environmental stewardship, which focus on saving energy, promoting sustainable food, conserving water, utilizing alternative transportation, and reducing waste to the landfill.