President Fenves and top-ranking Japanese government officials agree on implementation of a next-generation energy efficient data center at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. Photo: Marsha Miller

Universities lead society toward deeper understanding and greater prosperity. The university's highest role is to address uncertainty and complex questions, even when doing so challenges tradition and opinion.

In all endeavors, UT Austin has an internal expectation to be a leader and model institution among public research universities. The goal of excellence begins in the Office of the President and extends to the front line workforce and across our student body and faculty. This is measured in many ways: scholarship and the quality of our faculty and administrative leadership; our ability to attract top students; the beauty and scale of our campus; and by the appeal of our urban environment in Austin. Internally, students, staff, faculty and visitors admire the campus for its busy environment full of opportunities.

Students come to UT Austin not just to learn but also to be transformed into leaders. We have unrivaled faculty and staff who increasingly seek to connect students to the world in innovative and meaningful ways. Integrating sustainability into the identity of UT Austin is not so much a scenario to be considered, but an evolution to be embraced.

Our recent planning efforts demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in the broadest definition. The 2012 Campus Master Plan sets the tone when it states: "sustainable campuses express the mission of the university." The establishment of the Dell Medical School opens a new era in the university's relationship with the Central Texas community – and the medical district represents the largest singular investment in green building in campus history. The adoption and implementation of the East Campus Master Plan represents a new chapter in the history between the university and the Blackland neighborhood. 

These goals begin a process of formalizing sustainability as a part of our mission, campus identity and public image.