Annual Report from the University Sustainability Council

To: University Community
From: Ralph Kuncl, President, and Kathy Ogren, Provost
Date: February 6, 2018
Subject: Annual Report from the University Sustainability Council

We are pleased to announce the release of the University of Redlands Sustainability Council’s annual report.  This report highlights the great progress made by the Council, and it will serve the University very well in provoking us all to further action and acknowledging the good work we’ve done to date.

It is a major contribution and much appreciated.  We thank and congratulate the Council for its commitment to the University’s efforts and endorse its broad definition of sustainability that includes viewing it with the multiple lenses of “ecological integrity, social equity, and economic vitality.”

We support most of the recommendations embedded throughout the report, and in fact many of them are already in implementation.  Here are updates on several items cited:

  • Several of the Bon Appetit reforms are underway.
  • LED lights are being phased in across campus as our financial resources allow. The Grossmont Hall remodel is a recent example.
  • The Grossmont renovation also allowed us to install high-energy-efficient, variable refrigerant flow systems for heat and air conditioning.
  • The Energy Center is being significantly upgraded, with three new high-efficiency co-generators.
  • Recycling and water conservation continue to be vigorous efforts on campus.
  • LEED certification standard for building design is now assumed and in practice.

Some suggestions await later action because of their complexity, cost, or interactions with other efforts on campus.  For example, further work on solar power solutions must await modernization of the co-generation facilities in the Energy Center because of inherent demand-incompatibilities between our current co-gen systems and any new solar power supply.

Regarding the recommendation to engage in “socially responsible investing” through divestment, our Board of Trustees Investment Committee has preferred the more modern stance of emphasizing proactive investment in equities and other investment vehicles judged high on “environmental, social, and governance conduct.”

Unfortunately, we cannot support the recommendation to hire a dedicated full-time sustainability officer now, but we take the recommendation under advisement for a later time when greater resources are available.

We endorse the goal of diminished carbon usage. But we feel that endorsement of a particular political approach to carbon taxation is beyond what a mission-centered university administration can do.

For the multitude of other advances in sustainability at the University of Redlands, we encourage the community to consult the details of the full report.  It is of great interest to us all.

Members of the 2017–2018 University Sustainability Council include:  Julia Brandes, Pat Caudle, Roger Cellini, Elise Eifler, Evan Furgurson, Monty Hempel, Jordan Henk, Andrew Hollis, Nicholas Reksten, Ericka Smith, Margaret Sherline, and James Spee. Again, we emphasize our thanks for their complex and ongoing work.

The report can be accessed online at:  http://sites.redlands.edu/sustainability (“Resources and Planning” tab).