Progress Continues on Ohio State Sustainability Goals
In November 2015, The Ohio State University announced university-wide sustainability goals to guide the university as it develops durable solutions to the challenges of sustainability and in evolving a culture of sustainability. The goals, developed by students, faculty and staff, were designed to impact all aspects of the university mission: collaborative teaching, pioneering research, comprehensive outreach, and innovative operations, practices, and policies.
As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of our sustainability goals, students, faculty and staff – as well as the Central Ohio community – are seeing the payoff.
Efforts over the past 12 months have resulted in a wide-range of progress toward developing global citizens with knowledge of energy, environment and sustainability issues; creating discoveries to enhance sustainability research; conserving energy; reducing waste; protecting the environment; and obtaining food from local and sustainable sources.
Examples of recent sustainability successes include:
Teaching and Learning Goals
- A commitment to sustainability in the classroom, where 340 courses focus on sustainability issues, and more than 700 courses feature sustainability topics
- The opportunity to focus academic studies in sustainability with a major in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability, where enrollment has increased from 25 in 2012 to 215 in 2016
- Establishment of the SUSTAINS Learning Community (Students Understanding Sustainability and Taking Action to Improve Nature and Society) to help students explore and engage with sustainability topics and human interaction with environmental challenges
- Nine senior capstone student projects that focused on generating ideas from students on the challenges and opportunities for meeting Ohio State’s sustainability goals
Research and Innovation Goals
- Hiring more than 23 new faculty members through the Discovery Themes Initiative with expertise related to sustainability
- Researchers and facilities at Ohio State playing a central role as the collaborative Smart Columbus team comes together under an unprecedented $140 million program to transform Central Ohio into the nation’s premier transportation innovation region, building on our “Research and Innovation” goal to create new knowledge and solve real world problems
Outreach and Engagement Goals
- Hosting notable experts in energy, the environment and sustainability, including:
- HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
- Dr. M. Sanjayan, Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist for Conservation International
- U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, (D, R.I.)
- Cardinal Peter Turkson, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
- Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway
- Fostering relationships with sustainability focused entities across Central Ohio, including the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, COSI, the Mayor’s Green Team, and the Columbus Metropolitan Club, to promote sustainability throughout our region
- Establishment of the University Panel on Food Sustainability to plan how to increase production and purchase of locally and sustainably sourced food to 40% by 2025
- Mirror Lake District restoration changes to restore the campus landmark to its natural state and to aid in maintaining the university’s storm water runoff to pre-development levels by 2050 and increasing the ecological services of our landscapes
- Evaluating a partnership that could propel energy conservation efforts while focusing university resources on our academic mission. The Comprehensive Energy Management Project team is evaluating whether a partnership with energy experts would fulfill the university’s requirements for major improvements to energy conservation, high quality service, enrichment of academic connections and resources to focus on core priorities.
- Breaking ground on a new Compressed Natural Gas fueling station to serve the university’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Management, as well as the City of Columbus, as one step in reducing the carbon footprint of the university fleet by 25% by 2025
- Making Electric Vehicle Charging Stations available for public use on Ohio State's Columbus campus at three different locations to foster sustainability-oriented transportation practices among students, faculty, staff and alumni
- Achieving zero waste in Ohio Stadium by diverting on average more than 90% of the waste collected following football games, making real progress toward our goal of becoming a zero waste campus by 2025
- Contributions by the Ohio State Golf Courses to the goal of reducing maintained acreage by establishing no-mow zones for areas out of play range