New Sustainability Open Houses aim to connect campus

Sustainability graphic

A new series of Sustainability Open House meetings will give the campus community a chance to learn more about the university’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly and help direct future decisions.

The meetings will be held quarterly during the academic year, hosted in partnership by the Environmental Studies Program, the Student Sustainability Center and the Office of Sustainability. The inaugural Sustainability Open House will be held Friday, Jan. 17, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Gerlinger Lounge.

Each meeting will include brief presentations from pre-selected staff, faculty members and student groups, as well as time for casual networking to build collaborations between faculty and staff units.

“We know we have a complex, passionate campus system,” said Sarah Stoeckl, program manager in the Office of Sustainability and the event host. “The Sustainability Open Houses will, ideally, maximize our efforts through information-sharing and growing collaborations.”

All are invited to attend, and light refreshments will be provided.

To further collaborations that arise from the meetings, Jamie Moffitt, vice president for finance and administration, has offered $5,000 per year in funding for new projects and initiatives.

“Between campus operations and faculty research and teaching, we have multiple opportunities to use our physical campus as a living laboratory,” Moffitt said. “This initiative will further the UO’s goals for student success and highlight how everyone at this institution can help prepare our students for the future.”

Requests for funding are due by May 1 and will be managed by the Office of Sustainability.

“Sustainability, climate action and social equity are primary concerns for our students,” said Taylor McHolm, director of the Student Sustainability Center and meeting co-host. “These open houses will allow students to hear about what’s going on, and perhaps more importantly they can be a way for students to make their own priorities heard and help set the path forward. Everyone — students, staff, faculty — has a lot to learn from one another in terms of research, knowledge, action and values.”

Mark Carey, director of the Environmental Studies Program and meeting co-host, said the Sustainability Open Houses "offer an excellent way to advance Provost Patrick Phillip's recently announced environmental initiative, showcasing the far-reaching ways in which the UO excels in environmental work, particularly in environmental sustainability. This is a great opportunity for the entire campus."

"These Sustainability Open Houses will be an ideal way not only to connect students and faculty but also to link the UO's world-class academic research on environmental topics with the actual operations of the university around sustainability issues," he said.

To ask questions or be notified of future Sustainability Open Houses, contact Stoeckl at sstoeckl@uoregon.edu.