WORKING GROUPS

Led by:

Chad King, Director, Center for Sustainability

TBD: Chair, Sustainability Council

Denver and the Rocky Mountain West face many sustainability challenges in the present and near future.  These include increased traffic congestion, a loss of local farms, city growth and gentrification and challenges to the region’s water supply. But Denver also benefits from many opportunities that signal a more sustainable future. Our city has the 13th highest share of bike commuters among metropolitan centers, is focusing more on mobility options with billions of dollars of investment in light and commuter rail lines, and is attracting entrepreneurs and Millennials bringing energy for sustainable solutions. These challenges and opportunities place DU in a unique position to engage in these issues, focusing research, teaching and experiential learning on our campus and community sustainability practices. 

 

Working Groups

Sustainable DU

Chad King

Director, Center for Sustainability

TBD

Chair, Sustainability Council

The Sustainability Council at DU has been working for more than 10 years on creating a just and sustainable future, which is outlined in their 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, and strengthened in the work that the Cultivating a Sustainable Community task force produced in their 2015 report Just and Sustainable Future Initiative. 

Emerging from the council’s efforts, the Center for Sustainability was founded in the summer of 2012. Due to the deep commitment of faculty, staff and students to campus-wide sustainability initiatives, sustainability was a common theme during the strategic planning processes. Therefore, as stated in DU IMPACT 2025, DU will continue to expand its focus on helping to create a just and sustainable future. These efforts are being led by various entities across campus:

  • Sustainability Council – consisting of elected and appointed members with volunteers from units across campus. This council helps connect groups across campus, generate ideas and share information.
  • Center for Sustainability – the operational arm of the Sustainability Council. The Center provides leadership and coordinates sustainability efforts across campus. The main goal being to engage students and incorporate sustainability within all aspects of university operations.
  • Executive Committee – Consists of leadership in both the Sustainability Council and the Center for Sustainability, as well as University leadership. This committee establishes guidelines, plans and oversees performance.
  • Facilities Management – Helps implement sustainability goals throughout campus operations including planning and design, construction, business operations and physical plant operations.”
We have 25 goals we aim to accomplish before 2025. Those are elaborated on below but you can also see them here:  25×25

For more information, please see below and visit: https://www.du.edu/sustainability/index.html

Focus Area: ENERGY and CLIMATE

Lynn Bailey

Assistant Director of Utilities, Facilities Management

Bill Brady

Sophie Fitzgerald

Reed Pritchard

Nick Reetz

Our ambitious goals for 2025:

  • AASHE STARS Platinum
  • Reduce carbon emissions by 24% by 2020
  • MTCO2E reduction of 2%/ur or 45% by 2025
  • 5% on-site renewable energy
  • Power Purchase Agreement for at least 20% energy in which DU retains the renewable energy credits.
  • Continue reduction of on-campus electrical consumption by 500,000 kWH/yr.

We are currently at nearly 30% carbon footprint reduction and our energy efficient projects are continuing successfully.

NREL Grant: 

In support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, NREL is providing Solar PV Screenings to universities seeking to go solar. After DU was selected as a grant recipient, using the System Advisor Model (SAM) and Aurora model, NREL conducted an initial techno-economic assessment of solar PV feasibility. NREL then provided DU with customized results, including the cost-effectiveness of solar PV, recommended system size, estimated capital cost to implement the technology, and estimated life cycle cost savings. This provided great background information which we will use moving forward.

Renewable Energy: 

In collaboration with CSU, DU was included in a renewable electricity request for proposals (RFP). During a competitive selection process, 29 proposals were evaluated with 8 companies interviewed for the possibility of providing DU with renewable electricity.  Through this evaluation, Microgrid Energy Inc. was selected for an on-site rooftop solar photo-voltaic project.  Contract negotiations are currently in progress as well as the final selection for what buildings will receive solar power.  The panels are anticipated to be installed in the spring of 2019.  Additionally, solar panels have been planned for the Denver Advantage Buildings on the new First Year Residence Hall and Pioneer Career Achievement Center, which will be completed in the Summer of 2020.

 

———–

In January, the Board of Trustees (BOT) called for University leadership to take three immediate actions in regards to climate change, divestment and sustainability. This was done in consultation with subject-area experts on campus as well as those who will be tasked with implementation. Over the course of the last four months, a working group developed a set of recommendations, which were approved by the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees on June 9, 2017. The four main recommendations are as follows:

  • Statement of Commitment and Principles: On June 9th, the BOT passed a Climate Change Resolution that resolves that the BOT supports and encourages actions that may subsequently be developed as a means of recognizing the importance of climate change and in the fulfillment of its role as an institution of higher learning committed to an extraordinary sustainability program that distinguishes the university while addressing climate change in a meaningful and on-going manner.
  • Establishing a revolving “green fund” with increasing the fund through donor support to investigate new efforts related to sustainability in the operations of the University.
  • Further investment in the University’s sustainability efforts, both financially and in terms of human capital that will include new organizational structures and reporting. This has led to the formation of a working group that engages staff whose role encompasses work on sustainability issues.
  • Working with the Board of Trustees and investment managers to make available an alternative type of investment vehicle that may offer donors the ability to have their contributions invested in a manner that aligns with their social objectives regarding sustainability.

Last Updated: 5/21/18

Focus Area: MOBILITY

Brandon Bishop

John Ganzar

Assistant Director, Housing and Residential Education

Robby Long

Byron Schuldt

Don Sullivan

Associate Professor, Department of Geography

Lindsey Vargas

Program Coordinator, Department of Gender and Women's Studies

Randy Wagner

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Sturm College of Law

Marc Wilkinson

Assistant Director of Operations and Maintenance, Facilities Management

Our mobility goals for 2025 are:

  1. Reduce SOV commutes to less than 40% of total trips and eliminate the need for cars for students’ first two academic ears by providing multiple safe transportation alternatives to campus
  2. Crate a “Green Fleet” consisting of 50% alternatively fueled vehicles
  3. Become a gold rated Bicycle Friendly University by 2020

Below is our progress towards these goals:

Dockless Bike Share: ofo 

Parking and Mobility Services and ofo have partnered to bring dockless bikeshare to the University of Denver as a one-year pilot.  Students, faculty and staff can now unlock and ride one of the 200 yellow ofo bikes located across campus. When you are done with your ride, park it in any bikeshare parking box painted on campus.  It’s that simple!

If you chose to ride off of campus, you may park your bike at any bike rack in the city, or at the side of neighborhood streets in the right of way.  Rides may end anywhere in the pilot area (from Alameda Ave to Hampden Ave, South Broadway to Colorado Boulevard/I-25).

Four Affordable Options!

  • $0.50/hr
  • $9.95/month
  • $25.95/quarter
  • $69.95/year

How It Works:

  1. Download the “ofo” app.
  2. Unlock by scanning the QR code (black square).
  3. Ride! Park the bike in a marked DU parking location. Slide lock back into place to end ride.

You can pay per ride, per-month, per quarter or annually!

Chariot Shuttle:

Starting in July, DU will be offering a shuttle service around campus.

How It Works:

  1. Download Chariot App
  2. Search Routes
  3. Check-in
  4. Board

As a part of a one year pilot, we will have 2 shuttles (1 ADA compliant) and they will circulate around campus including stops at the Light Rail Station, Nagel Hall and the Administrative Office Building.

Stay tuned for more information and maps!

Car2Go:

We now have Car2Go cars on campus including a Mercedes-Benz GLA and CLA. Download the app to use! Be sure to use your DU student discount code, PIONEERS1030, when signing up.

Last Updated: 5/21/18

FOCUS Area: FOOD

Bryn Babbitt

Kristina Ellis

Megan Kelly

Teaching Associate Professor, Writing Program

Stefanie Kremer

Ira Simon

Resident District Manager, Sodexo Dining Services

Our goal for 2025 is:

  1. Purchase 40% of food from local or sustainably certified sources.

Our committee is working to polish the food sustainability policy that has been drafted in order to approve the policy within the next 1-2 years.

Real Food ChallengeIn the Spring of 2014, students and staff reviewed Sodexo’s current food purchasing to find that 3% of the food brought into the DU campus dining, was considered “real” food. We are proud to announce that Sodexo has raised that percentage from 3% in 2014 to 19% in the 2016-2017 academic year!

University of Denver Food Pantry: We are also excited to announce the launch of the University of Denver Food Pantry. The food pantry is located in the Center for Sustainability, Towers North, on the 1st floor. The food pantry is open to everyone with a DU ID.  The Pantry is open from 4:00pm-8:00pm the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

It is also open on an appointment basis by emailing sustainability@du.edu

Last Updated: 5/21/18

Focus Area: CURRICULUM

Sarah Bexell

Visiting Clinical Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work

Susan Daggett

Associate Professor of the Practice of Law, Sturm College of Law

Sophie Fitzgerald

Mike Keables

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Geography

Megan Kelly

Teaching Associate Professor, Writing Program

Corey Martz

Julie Morris

Teaching Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Pranietha Mudliar

Environmental Justice IRISE Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica Neumann

Assistant Director, Office of Academic Innovation

Dale Rothman

Associate Professor, Korbel School of International Studies

Our goals for 2025 are to:

  1. Assess sustainability literacy and learning and implement a campus-wide curricular and co-curricular sustainability learning outcome.
  2. Identify or create at least one class per degree program that addresses sustainability.
  3. Increase the total students taking more than one sustainability-related course.
  4. Develop an Interdisciplinary Institute to serve as the backbone to support community-engaged collective impact through curriculum and research projects.

We have worked in partnership with CCESL this year to create a faculty cluster interested in exploring the intersection of sustainability and social justice in community engaged class projects, research, and teaching practices.

In March, we partnered with IRISE, the DU Denver Water Law Review, DULCES, the DU Latino Center, and DU Native American Community Relations to host a series of films leading up to the “Forging Sovereignty, Self Determination, and Solidarity through Water Law” symposium.
Interested in partnering in these efforts? Fill out this form:
  • Multi-Station Plan and Mobility Study: 
What started as a mobility hub study in three DU courses, resulted in an $8 million project for pedestrian and bikeway improvements funded by the 2017 GO Bond Projects. Click here to see examples of student work.
  • Metro Denver Nature Alliance (mDNA):

Partnering with CCESL’s Community Engaged Fellows program, project leaders have explored faculty and staff interest in this topic. 26 faculty are involved in this effort including: business, chemistry, biology, geography, psychology, social work, anthropology, education, and law. The following classes are sustainability-engaged courses:

  • David Carlson, The Importance of Nature for Human Health and Well-Being (Korbel)
  • Andrew Goetz, Urban & Regional Planning (Geography)
  • Megan Kelly, Writing and Research (University Writing Program)
  • Cara DiEnno, Community and Environmental Wellness (Wellness LLC)
  • Cara DiEnno, Civic Engagement (BACP 3400)
  • Rebecca Powell, Remote Sensing (Geography)
  • Patience Crowder, Community Economic Development Clinic (Law)
  • Susan Daggett, Urban Conservation Workshop (Law)
  • Julie Morris, Sustaining Life (Biology)
  • Sarah Bexell and Praneitha Mudliar, Just Sustainabilities (GSSW and IRISE)

There are many projects currently underway, including the Nature Narratives project which will build capacity and assist partner organizations in communicating their individual and collective roles in promoting access to and engagement with urban nature in the Denver metro area. This project will be supported by DU’s writing program in 2018-2019.

mDNA is also involved with the U.S. Forest Service’s initiative to co-create a Denver Urban Field Station, an exciting new research collaborative in Denver that is focused on understanding socio-ecological systems in urban areas. The Denver Urban Field Station could fulfill the research needs of the Metro Denver Nature Alliance, as well as become a resource for partners interested in urban ecology and human-nature connections. To explore collaboration and generate interest, we hosted an information sessional last summer where 14 faculty members, 6 staff members, 3 graduate students and 7 community partners attended.

Last Updated: 5/21/18