FROM THE CHANCELLOR
Safety, sustainability key focuses for our campus community
While springtime is traditionally considered to be a time of renewal, perhaps autumn can be thought of as the time for refocusing and recommitting to our goals. Let’s begin our new school year together by examining the progress that we’ve made as a campus in two key areas—safety and sustainability. These are two very distinct subject areas, but they share a common dynamic: we must work together to realize meaningful outcome in each area, the goals are vitally important to our campus, and, it is not easy to quantify incremental progress. I intend to cover each area with a few points to provide a sense of what we’ve accomplished and where we still need to focus.
With respect to our safety efforts: last year the Boulder community reported several assaults that were alleged to have occurred late at night or early in the morning. While investigation and follow-up by the Boulder and CU-Boulder police took place, other actions were initiated that are proving to be very powerful. Late last year our student leaders established a task force on safety and commissioned a survey of student perspectives. Additionally, students began working with members of the CU-Boulder Police Department, Facilities Management and the City of Boulder to examine the underlying factors that contribute to feelings of safety and security on campus. While the results indicated that nearly 90 percent of the respondents felt safe on campus, collectively we believe that we can, and should, do more.
In recent days, members of the chancellor’s staff and representatives of UCSU announced several actions designed to address issues of safety. Work has included landscaping improvements, enhanced lighting and the review and consideration of the potential for two pilot programs dealing with late night safety, transit, and parking.
We are gathering information and exploring the possibility of enhancing our existing security staffing to initiate an expanded campus patrol/safe transit program that would transport students safely to their destinations on campus late at night when other options are not available, and creating a close-in, late night parking permit program. If we decide to pursue these programs, they would not be implemented until Spring 2010.
During this same period, the CU-Boulder Police Department and campus leadership were finalizing a plan to institute a “platoon” structure and schedule. The primary benefit is that we will be able to include at least five additional officers on the street during the very busiest time of 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., to the five officers already patrolling at this time. This will facilitate more patrols of our campus and perimeter, and enable our officers to better assist city of Boulder Police in covering calls specifically related to student behavior and safety.
We know no program or infrastructure can guarantee safety; nonetheless, these efforts illustrate the spirit of partnership and action between students, administrators and the community.
I will only briefly mention our efforts in emergency management and campus civility. It is important to note that our commitment remains strong in each area. Our emergency management team is continually training and helping us prepare for a variety of incidents or natural hazards on or adjacent to the campus. Our current effort to communicate about the H1N1 flu pandemic is a good example of this coordination. With respect to campus civility I want to once again draw attention to the fact that our campus community is comprised of people of differing ages and physical abilities. We must remember that we are all entitled to feel safe and secure when traveling around the campus, along our paths, and when entering and exiting our buildings. We will be continuing our efforts to communicate about bicycle, pedestrian and skateboard safety and I implore each of us to consider the needs of our colleagues.
Shifting gears now to the interesting and timely subject of campus sustainability, I will begin with the recent announcement by Sierra magazine of their selection of the University of Colorado at Boulder as the top green university in the United States.
While the campus community can be proud of the recognition of our hard working students, faculty and staff, it would be unproductive and uncharacteristic to accept this announcement as the fulfillment of our campus goals. It is fair to say that the campus community, led by Chancellor Philip DiStefano, is motivated to go well beyond our current and past achievements as evidenced by the chancellor’s embracing of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to pursue and achieve carbon neutrality in the coming decades. The Chancellor’s appointed carbon neutrality working group has put the finishing touches on the draft of the “Conceptual Plan for Carbon Neutrality” that will soon be unveiled for review by the campus, and submitted this fall to the ACUPCC.
With the legacy of decades of environmental stewardship, the campus leadership is not waiting for the carbon neutrality plan to be finalized to continue making progress. In the last few weeks I approved a contract to install rooftop solar installations on the Coors Events Center, Wolf Law School, and the Housing Maintenance Facility. When installation is completed early in 2010, the systems will generate a combined quarter of a million kilowatt-hours per year, or roughly the equivalent of the energy needed to power 35 average homes. This represents a substantial component of the energy needs of these facilities. It is interesting to note that our net investment after tax credits, rebates and other incentives results in less than an eight-year payback.
Additionally, the Chancellor, Senior Vice Chancellor and I have established Sustainability Action Teams, and have challenged them to scour the campus for opportunities to save energy, carbon and dollars. This is intended to be a short-term effort and will assist the campus in addressing Governor Ritter’s “Greening of State Government” initiative that calls for a significant reduction in waste and a new focus on the conversation of resources by 2012. The campus is well on the path toward achieving these goals, but this is not the time to rest.
This is the time to build on the relationships that the campus community has with the city, the Governor’s Energy Office, the private sector and our federal laboratories here in Boulder to push for more renewable energy choices, greater emphasis on conservation of resources and new strategies for addressing transportation. This will, by necessity, involve making some very difficult decisions among competing values—but that has often been the case during difficult times and that is the situation we face in our world today.
A bimonthly publication produced by the Department of University Communications
© The Regents of the University of Colorado