By 2050, Auburn will be climate neutral — or at least that’s the Office of Sustainability’s goal.
Auburn University’s Office of Sustainability is making waves of green around campus as they lead the eco-friendly charge, and that’s a positive thing.
With the effects of climate change upon us, it is important now more than ever before for people to make a difference in the way we interact with the environment.
Their quest is about more than just the environment; instead, their approach is an all-encompassing approach based on a four-point sustainability compass with nature, well-being, economy and society representing each direction.
This approach aims to create a better world to live in for plants, animals and people. That’s truly an admirable goal and one that Auburn is helping to achieve.
The office hosts initiatives and events on campus, usually raising awareness of various issues, but most of its efforts involve enabling other offices, departments, entities or groups on campus to succeed with their sustainable initiatives. This approach allows our campus’ green headquarters to have further reach and more favorable outcomes.
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Most importantly, this allows the Office of Sustainability to identify problems and make a change.
To be truly successful, the office has had to widen its reach, encompassing entities in every corner of campus, extending from mental health and diversity to agriculture and Parking Services. Through these partnerships, the office can make the largest impact.
Perhaps two of the entities most often criticized on campus — Tiger Dining and Parking Services — are some of the strongest powers working to fix problems with a more sustainable approach. They have partnered with the Office of Sustainability to help solve their problems in a sustainable way.
Don’t have a car? You can carpool, take the bus or grab a War Eagle Bike Share bike.
Can’t find a parking spot? Take the most efficient, effective and emissions-reductive route to an open space with the War Eagle Parking app.
Nowhere to charge your electric car on campus? There is now — check the campus parking decks.
Think there’s nothing healthy or environmentally sustainable to eat on campus? Dining is sourcing more and more local, fresh and healthy foods in a way that gives the most benefit to students. They are also trying to provide a meat-free meal at every dining facility.
Tired of seeing all that food waste? Campus dining has partnered with Auburn’s chapter of the Campus Kitchens Project to recover that perfectly good food that would normally get thrown away every night in order to redistribute it to those who need it.
Where you see problems, the Office of Sustainability sees solutions; they are continuing to find creative and innovative solutions using increasingly more sustainable methods.
Auburn has been awarded a silver rating through the Sustainable Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. Each new building on campus will be built to follow Leadership in Energy and Design standards. These are solutions and certifications that will last long after many students have graduated.
The best part about these solutions: they are increasing local industry and improving citizens’ and students’ well-being.
Better and increased transportation methods mean that those without cars or without a parking space can still go to class, they can still make it to work on time, and they can do it in a sustainable way.
Increased investment in local agriculture means local farmers can sell more and make more money.
Decreased spending on power or waste means the University can invest tuition dollars in ways that better benefit students.
The Office of Sustainability is leading Auburn into an era of minimal human impact, an era in which Auburn University and the Auburn community at large can only benefit.
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