Highlights from NAU's Environmental Caucus in the First Year
The Environmental Caucus at Northern Arizona University formed in October 2008 through an initial meeting of 42 faculty, staff and students. The Environmental Caucus facilitates creative and strategic communication across campus to advance the institutional commitment to sustainability and to promote education, research, and collaboration on the environment.
In its first year, participants in the Environmental Caucus accomplished the following:
- Organized the Environmental Caucus. Monthly meetings attract 25 – 40 participants. The group initiated an Environmental Caucus website (www.nau.edu/envcaucus ), established the mission and operating principles, formed the steering committee and action teams, and achieved formal representation on the NAU President's Cabinet.
- Advanced the Climate Action Plan. Created a mechanism to complete the Climate Action Plan to fulfill NAU’s ACUP Climate Commitment requirements. Plan will be completed in December 2009.
- Launched the Green NAU Website. Developed the concept and design for a Green NAU website as a portal to the environment and sustainability at NAU, gained support and involvement from the university administration and, and established and maintains this new university-wide website (http://green.nau.edu/).
- Reactivated the Ponderosa Group as the curricular arm of the Caucus. Originally formed a dozen years ago, Ponderosa is an interdisciplinary faculty group seeking to incorporate sustainability and the environment across the university curriculum.
- Student Action. Sparked formation of the Student Environmental Caucus to network all Environmental Groups on campus. Also hosted a Campus Climate Challenge student presentation on a Green Fee (now called "Green Fund") and provided support to the student effort.
- Sustainability chosen as NAU Marketing Theme. This year, sustainability is one of two themes for NAU marketing. Caucus activity helped to make this happen, and the Caucus will work closely with marketing to ensure success.
- Improved coordination/networking on sustainability efforts across campus. Some highlights happening across campus include reduction by 15% of overall energy consumption/square foot, increasing recycling visibility (in progress), educating about and endorsing Global Learning Recommendations, etc.