FROM THE CHANCELLOR
Happy 40th Birthday to the Environmental Center!
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano
Philip P. DiStefano
We were both a lot younger when I started teaching at the University of Colorado 36 years ago. Now we are both older – but greener.
One of my students in those early years is now the longest serving employee at CU's Environmental Center, recycling development director Jack DeBell.
I won't say how old Jack is now, but he was a good student back then. I will note with more than a little pride that the Environmental Center turned 40 on Earth Day, five days ago. And these days, Jack and all the current and former Environmental Center staff and students are being recognized as environmental leaders from the beginning, continuing that work today to the point where the CU-Boulder campus is a national, and even global, role model.
Thirty-six years ago, the students of the Environmental Center salvaged wood from CU scrap and built recycling collection containers, put them around campus, and sold the cans, bottles, and papers they collected. All by student power.
These days our recycling operations are state of the art. Students now partner with the administration to operate an advanced recycling system – and we are moving toward a zero waste system campuswide. The students in University of Colorado Student Union buildings are already piloting zero waste – and we've been setting the standard for zero waste in Folsom Field for two years, now.
A couple of weeks ago, Environmental Center students were on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 talking about changing the campus – and the world. The CNN report captured the legacy of leadership Environmental Center students have bequeathed to us so that we may continue setting a high bar on sustainability. I am certain that tomorrow’s students will be up to the task as we continue to see more incoming freshmen select CU because of our green heritage.
The Environmental Center’s drive and innovation over the last 40 years has without a doubt put CU in the vanguard of green campuses globally. Only last summer, we were named the greenest campus in the nation by the Sierra Club. How far we have come!
Going forward, the Environmental Center and Vice Chancellor for Administration Frank Bruno have been working together to better coordinate and steer the sustainability functions that have been growing across all campus units. Indeed, the Environmental Center’s leadership has resulted in sustainability breaking out all over. But with the Environmental Center and Vice Chancellor Bruno's cooperation, we can leverage this growth into even greater achievement campuswide.
So Happy Birthday Environmental Center. Forty years old and just entering your prime! Live green!