A tradition of Sustainability
1930s: The university converts the Hal C. Weaver power plant from coal to natural gas. Since then, the main campus has produced all of its own electrical power and the heating and cooling for all buildings.
1970s: The first Earth Day was celebrated in April 1970. SCOPE, the Student Committee on Pollution of the Environment, was formed and the students set up kiosks on the West Mall. A series of teach-ins were held with professors on environmental topics. A workshop on population growth, held in the union, had to turn students away because the room was overflowing.
1980s: The University of Texas at Austin bus system is established. It will become one of the largest university transit systems in the country.
2002: The Campus Environmental Center (CEC), a new student group, is established with the mission “to empower the UT community to reduce its negative environmental impact and to foster a genuine culture of sustainability on campus through collaborative and constructive means.”
2005: The University of Texas at Austin Childcare Center opens as the first green building on campus.
2007: The Departments for Housing and Food Service provides all residence halls with ENERGY STAR refrigerators, freezers, and microwaves.
2010: Students pass a referendum with 71% support establishing a ‘green fee’ that will generate just over $500,000 a year in funds for ‘environmental service’ projects on campus. Proposals will be solicited from students, faculty and staff and a student majority committee will award funds.
2011: The Concho Community Garden is established in East Campus with funding from the Green Fee, and co-sponsorship from the Campus Environmental Center, the Division of Housing and Food Service, and the Office of Sustainability.
2012: The Orange Bike Project, a student organization formed within the Campus Environmental Center in 2009, becomes officially sponsored by Parking & Transportation Services. The OBP offers a semester rental program and education and advocacy for student bike commuters.