Highlights from NAU's Environmental Caucus in the Third Year
Since its formation in October 2008, The Environmental Caucus (EC) has gained a reputation as one of the most active and effective groups on campus. An informal and collaborative approach brings together faculty, students, staff and administrators to advance the university's institutional commitment to sustainability. The EC presently holds monthly meetings with 30-45 participants, coordinates six action teams, and manages a 425-member listserv.
Caucus Organization & Leadership Accomplishments
- Monthly meetings drew 30-45 participants from a listserv of 425 members.
- Two new action teams formed:
- Continued evolution of organization, including leadership transition process to select Chair, Associate Chair, and steering committee members
- Led numerous presentations at AASHE 2010 conference in Denver and organized significant participation of NAU faculty, staff and students.
- Submitted proposal at President's request for priority one-time funding
- Hosted Fall 2010 welcome back sustainability/EC event; planning another for fall 2011
- Achieved support for EC plan to establish a sustainability leadership position in the Office of the Provost for Spring 2012.
- Initiated a President's Innovation Fund grant, with Capital Assets and Landsward, to design two new courses
- ENV/MGT 499, Implementing Sustainability Programs, Fall 2011
- CM 499, Energy Management, Spring 2011
- Supervised 8 interns in fall semester and 5 interns in spring semester
- Launched the Sustainable Landscaping Project, including research and demonstration projects run by three additional SEPAT interns.
- Continued to support the Global Learning Initiative and provided expertise as advisors to the Global Learning Curriculum Design teams.
- Supported development of the First Year Seminars and CRAFTS/Community Engagement Initiative courses.
- Participated in Course Expo featuring sustainability/environmental courses.
- Coordinated with NAUreads to choose Colin Beavan's book No Impact Manas NAUreads selection and helped to organize No Impact Week for October 2011
- Continued support for Green Fund, helping select committee and organize efforts.
- Sponsored the Human Rights & The Environment Lecture Series, with Martin-Springer Institute and the Program in Community, Culture and the Environment, bringing Peter Gleick, Jen Marlowe, Winona LaDuke, Robert Gottlieb and Nalina Nadkami to speak on campus and interact with classes.
- Sponsored, with the Student Environmental Caucus, the successful New York Times/American Democracy Project Talks; three talks brought 35-75 participants each for pizza and discussion on topics of climate change, food security, and water.
- Co-sponsored Flagstaff's first World Carfree Day (September, 628 participants), Campus Sustainability Day (October) and Earth Week (April)
- Continued to provide support, advising and mentoring to Student Environmental Caucus, Campus Climate Challenge and Green Fund.
- Created a 2010 EC Summer Reading List and held three book discussions in the fall. Books included:
- Diane Dumanoski's End of the Long Summer
- Bill McKibben's Eaarth
- Tim Jackson's Prosperity Without Growth
- Supported a student intern to initiate a residence hall energy competition.
Campus Operations and Climate Commitment
- Assisted university in transition to a new Sustainability Coordinator - provided impetus to fill an essential role; offered expertise and personnel during the transition period.
- Worked closely with Campus Operations staff to publicize and improve recycling, develop an approach to track faculty air travel, assist with a Lights Out program and further conservation outreach, and support a campus organic garden.
- Developed ideas, coordination and publicity on transportation, including campus chart on walking and biking, bike lockers installation, Bicycle Friendly University Application, "Exercise Your Options" programs and Employee Development Day workshops.
- Collaborated with Office of Sustainability to complete STARS report.
- Managed the Green NAU website, which had over 18,000 visits in the last year, including 13,000 unique visitors. Coordinated with Student Connections to publicize jobs, internships, and other student opportunities.
- Grew the visibility of the University's sustainability efforts (AASHE bulletins, AZ Daily Sun, Princeton Review, application for AASHE award, Sierra's Cool Schools, etc.)
- Teamed up with University Marketing to complete NAU Sustainability Marketing Plan
- An EC intern developed the Green Louie the Lumberjack concept and initiated planning for a sustainability outreach and competition program.
- An EC intern produced and submitted an NAU video to National Wildlife Federation's Chill Out competition
- Second annual Environmental Caucus Sustainability Leadership Awards presented by President Haeger during Earth Week.
Coordination on Sustainability
- Improved coordination/networking on sustainability efforts across campus.
- Created synergy for collaborative success in research and public service efforts, e.g. NSF Rural Climate Change Education grant.
- Began coordination of NCSE/CEDD EnvironMentors program proposal.
- Promoted importance of integrating curriculum and campus operations and worked with Capital Assets to better understand priority areas for student involvement.
- An official EC representative participated on the City's Rainwater Harvesting Task Force to integrate rainwater harvesting into the existing codes focused on water conservation.
- Helped to organize and participated in 10-10-10 Global Work Party to conduct neighborhood outreach, promoting residential weatherization, together with the Weatherization and Community Building Action Team.