GU Joins Mayor for Historic Sustainability Partnership
February 29, 2012 – Georgetown President John J. DeGioia and presidents from eight other Washington, D.C., universities joined District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray today to commit the higher education sector to the mayor’s goal of making Washington the “greenest college town in America.”
The university presidents and the Mayor gathered at American University to sign the District of Columbia’s College and University Sustainability Pledge (CUSP), an agreement by the schools to pursue sustainability measures related to energy use and buildings, green education, transportation, waste reduction and grounds maintenance.
The occasion marked the first in the nation alliance between the higher education community and a local government focused on sustainability.
“Through our work together, we’ll be able to strengthen our collective commitment to creating and implementing environmentally sustainable practices across our campuses and across our city,” said President DeGioia.
As president and chair of the board of trustees of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, DeGioia highlighted broader collaboration between D.C.’s higher education community and the District, reflected in the shared goal of advancing the city’s growth and success.
“We are dedicated to working together to advance the possibilities for economic and social equity that can result from the new policies, practices, and projects that emerge from our work to reach our environmental goals,” DeGioia said. “Together, we are engaged in a wide range of projects, targeting economic development, technological innovation, and smart growth, as we consider the ways that our colleges and universities can continue to partner with the city.”
As part of the sustainability pledge, each of the participating schools will set goals over the next year, with emphasis on energy and buildings, research and innovation, transportation, purchasing, and green education and training.
“By signing this pledge we accept a mutual responsibility to hold the highest standards and achievements for environmental sustainability,” DeGioia said.
The other schools are American University, The Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, Corcoran College of Art & Design, George Washington University, Howard University, Trinity Washington University and the University of the District of Columbia.
A HISTORIC DAY
Gray thanked DeGioia for his leadership and deemed it “a historic day” for Washington, D.C.
“This will give us an opportunity, the ability I believe, to create a sustainable, healthy, clean, equitable and prosperous city,” Gray said. “I think it’s just the beginning and just kind of relationship that can endure over the next decades as we work to improve the District of Columbia.”
A MORE SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS
Georgetown has made efforts to become a more sustainable campus by reducing its carbon footprint by over 17 percent since 2005. The university also has committed to reducing 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Other sustainable efforts on campus include being one of the first universities in the country to use solar compacting recycling stations campus-wide and diverting over 90 percent of waste from landfills each year.
Georgetown is also committed to LEED Silver or higher green building standards for new construction and renovations.
Regents Hall, the new science building set to open in Fall 2012, will feature a 20,000-gallon cistern for on-site rainwater capture and reuse to reduce storm water impact.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Members of Georgetown Energy, EcoAction and the Center for the Environment welcomed the pledge between the universities and the mayor.
“This right here just shows that Georgetown is really dedicated to taking sustainability into all of its planning decisions and decisions about student life and making it integral to everything we do at the university,” says Claire Austin (SFS’12), a member of EcoAction who attended the event.
Dan Mathis (SFS’13), a project leader at Georgetown Energy said the university is on the right track.
“I think the initial things we’re doing right now are helping and I think the ideas are in place and it’s only a matter of implantation right now,” he says.