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April 3, 2008

Faculty Assembly passes sustainability resolution

Faculty Assembly wants Pitt’s administration to reaffirm its commitment to “going green.”

A resolution proposed by the ad hoc sustainability subcommittee was passed unanimously at this week’s Assembly meeting.

The subcommittee was formed by the Senate plant utilization and planning committee last year to review University-related sustainability issues, such as recycling, “green” building practices and energy efficiency. (See University Times April 19, 2007.)

Subcommittee chair Attilio “Buck” Favorini introduced the resolution, which asks the University administration to:

• Reaffirm the commitment to environmental education and support of environmental academic education in the curriculum.

• Foster environmentally responsible purchasing practices, to balance short- and long-term maintenance and costs in purchasing goods and services, with sound fiscal practices.

• Identify, implement, communicate and coordinate practices that preserve and promote efficient use and conservation of energy, water and other resources.

• Promote conservation efforts to the University community to reduce resource consumption.

• Minimize solid waste production by fostering recycling and reuse.

• Commit to environmentally responsible campus planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance principles by making the most efficient use of the physical plant before adding new facilities; continuing with the “greening” of the campus and efforts to implement sustainable practices in the design and maintenance of the grounds, within the limitations of the campus’s urban context, and monitoring progress toward institutional goals in these areas.

• Establish processes to maintain efficient use, tracking, storage and disposal of hazardous toxic and radioactive materials, while keeping toxic materials on campus at reasonable levels for work and research purposes.

• Commit to facilitating pedestrian travel, bicycle use and the promotion of other alternative modes of transportation such as public transit.

• Foster linkages among and within University academic and administrative departments for the purpose of promoting, informing and reporting on sustainability efforts.

The resolution will be forwarded to Pitt’s senior administration for consideration, said University Senate President John Baker at the April 1 meeting.

In other Faculty Assembly developments:

• By invitation, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher presented information on the 2000 Tempe Principles for Scholarly Publication and subsequent issues regarding open-access scholarly publishing and intellectual property rights. (A story on scholarly publishing issues will appear in a future University Times issue.)

• Rodger Beatty, co-chair of the Senate commonwealth relations committee, said his group met with members of the community relations committee and Community and Governmental Relations staff to strategize about efforts to boost Pitt’s fiscal year 2009 state appropriation above the 1.2 percent increase recommended by Gov. Ed Rendell.

“We were given personalized packets from Governmental Relations with information on the legislators in our district,” Beatty reported. “The bottom line is we were urged to contact legislators, preferably face to face, or to write letters, or both, as their constituents, not just as members of the Pitt community.”

Rendell is recommending an overall 4.2 percent increase in the FY09 state budget, Beatty noted. “We’re asking that our appropriation be more in line with that, since a 1.2 percent increase is not really much of anything,” he said.

Baker said that faculty members and other interested parties are invited to the commonwealth relations meetings, which typically feature lunch with a state legislator. The next meetings are scheduled for April 18 at Pitt-Johnstown with State Sen. John N. Wozniak (D-35), who represents Cambria County, and April 25 on the Pittsburgh campus with State Rep. Matthew H. Smith (D-42), who represents Mt. Lebanon, Green Tree, Rosslyn Farms, Thornburg and parts of Scott Township and Bethel Park. Reservations are required and the meetings are closed to the media. For more information, contact the Senate office at 412/624-6505.

—Peter Hart

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