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April 17, 2008

Senate approves green resolution

Senate Council last week unanimously endorsed a resolution calling for Pitt to commit to energy-efficient and other “green” initiatives.

The resolution proposed by the ad hoc sustainability subcommittee previously was passed unanimously at this month’s Faculty Assembly meeting. (See April 3 University Times.)

The subcommittee was formed by the Senate plant utilization and planning committee last year to review Pitt-related sustainability issues, such as recycling, “green” building practices and energy efficiency.

At the April 9 Council meeting, subcommittee chair Attilio “Buck” Favorini introduced the resolution, which calls for Pitt to reaffirm its commitment to best practices of sustainability in education, purchasing and institutional planning.

“I do want to pull out a couple key words [in the resolution] that include ‘to identify, implement, communicate and coordinate practices that preserve and promote efficient use and conservation of energy, water and other resources’ and ‘monitoring progress in accomplishment of intuitional goals,’” Favorini said.

“I can’t help but think that the University administration would apply to sustainability efforts the same thoroughness that is applied everywhere in the pursuit of agreed-upon goals. That thoroughness is involved with surveying best practices and benchmarking.”

Favorini said that committing to sustainability efforts would put Pitt in a better light in the media, could save money in the short or long term and would aid recruitment of those who are growing more concerned with an institution’s green efforts.

He stressed, however, that the resolution intentionally was fashioned to be non-specific. “This resolution does not commit the administration to any particular operational mode, but it does hope to raise the issue of sustainability on the campus at all levels.”

Following Favorini’s presentation, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said, “We welcome this resolution, there’s no question about that. And we appreciate the work of the committee and the way you handled this issue, especially in including members of the administration [in your deliberations].”

The text of the resolution will be posted online at

—Peter Hart

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