Celebrating Sustainability and Accepting a New Challenge

The University of Utah celebrates a long-standing commitment to sustainability. It’s supported by a widely diverse campus community of faculty and students engaged in researching, writing, and teaching on virtually every aspect of sustainability. They are supported by staff who share the belief that being environmentally conscious not only makes good sense, it is also the right thing to do.

February 9, 2015, I signed a formal document of campus commitment to the Real Food Challenge.  This initiative is driven by University of Utah students, who have joined forces with a nationwide network of student food activists, to shift university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards the creation and sustainability of local, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food sources. The challenge is to move $1 billion to “Real Food” by 2020. I am proud to announce the University of Utah’s commitment is that 20 percent of our food will be “real” by 2020. Through the support of U students, the Office of Sustainability, and with the collaboration of Dining Services and the campus community, I am confident this is a goal that can be achieved.

The U has a history of success with sustainability. It is actively engaged in the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge, which means we are implementing high efficiency and other sustainability requirements in new construction, but it doesn’t stop there. Existing facilities are also being evaluated with the goal of lessening environmental impact, the U’s College of Science is piloting a behavioral energy change program to better educate the university community about sustainable behavior and the U Community Solar program, which allowed students, faculty, staff and friends of the university access to reliable, affordable solar power, has exceeded all expectations.

I am grateful to the many individuals and organizations at the University of Utah who are committed to leading with way in sustainability and making a lasting and positive impact on this campus, the community and the world.

I invite you to visit the Sustainability Office at their new location in Suite 50 on the garden level of the Business Classroom Building, 1635 Campus Center Drive, to learn more about the Real Food Challenge and other exciting news on sustainability at the U.

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