2021 Sustainability Plan Update
The first ever sustainability plan for UT-Austin was adopted in 2016. Led by the President's Sustainability Steering Committee, the 2021 update to the Sustainability Master Plan will guide UT sustainability efforts over the coming years. Keep an eye on this page for opportunities to give input and feedback on UT's sustainability priorities, goals, and strategies.
What are your campus sustainability priorities? What would you like to see in the updated Sustainability Master Plan? Complete this form to give your input.
Draft Plan Outline
The draft campus sustainability plan has four sections, each with one key goal statement. Each section will be broken into several categories and will include multiple strategies for implementation.
Planning and Engagement: By 2025, each major university unit has adopted a sustainability plan. With over 30 major units, including auxiliaries such as Athletics, this goal is intended to enable individual colleges and large units to define and prioritize sustainability initiatives as appropriate to their disciplines and specific activities. The Office of Sustainability and Organization Effectiveness will collaborate to facilitate unit-level planning.
Academics: By 2025, the university curriculum provides all undergraduate and graduate students with an understanding of, and proficiency in, sustainability and social equity within their discipline. Several colleges and departments already define sustainability specific to their degree plans, while others have utilized course development award funds from the Mitchell Foundation to increase their offerings.
Emissions: By 2033, campus operations are carbon neutral. The opportunities for UT Austin to be a leader in the global Energy Transition were recently highlighted at symposia by the Social Innovation Initiative as well as during UT Energy Week 2021 hosted by the Energy Institute. The committee believes that a conversation about reducing our own campus emissions is an opportunity to lead by example. While the current campus district energy system is a model of efficiency and low emissions for a natural gas power plant, as shown in the 2019 Campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the conversations about applying emerging technologies, financial tools and academic integrations to our own campus are just beginning.
Operations: The fourth section of the campus sustainability plan will focus on operations and is intended to identify strategies to strengthen existing sustainability and stewardship efforts across several areas of environmental impact in energy, water, buildings, landscape, food systems, mobility and the purchase of supplies and materials and diversion of waste. Operational strategies will build on the efforts that led to UT achieving STARS Gold in 2020.
Sign up for Texas Sustainability's Bleed Orange, Live Green e-newsletter. Sent a couple times per semester, this is the best way to stay up-to-date on the Sustainability Master Plan and additional opportunities to provide input. You can also follow Texas Sustainability on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The 2020 Mitchell Annual Sustainability Symposium was held virtually on Friday, December 4th. The morning session included a summary of progress on the 2016 Sustainability Master Plan followed by a presentation on the 2021 Sustainability Master Plan process.
The late morning session was a Student Town Hall. Led by Student Government's Sustainability Policy Director Sri Chappidi, the Town Hall was an opportunity for students to ask campus leadership questions about UT sustainability. Panelists were College of Natural Sciences Dean Paul Goldbart, Jackson School of Geosciences Dean Claudia Goldbart, and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Darrell Bazzell.
President Jay Hartzell gave the keynote address at mid-day followed by Q&A.
The event was sponsored by the UT Austin President’s Sustainability Steering Committee and produced by the UT Austin Office of Sustainability with financial support from the Mitchell Foundation. Find more information, including the Symposium recordings, here.