Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Does an Energy Policy tie with UIC's goals?

From what I have learned and believe, the first step incorporating sustainability successfully into any organization is to tie it into the organizations mission and values, consequently affecting operations. UIC is taking this route with it's energy policy. Here is a short timeline of its progress:

2003: Committee formed to reduce energy and administrative costs
2006: University of Illinois President creates Energy Task Force (ETF) to improve energy performance, increase efficiency in production and consumption, and reduce costs
2010: UIC's Energy Policy approved by Provost R. Michael Tanner and Mark Donavon
The University of Illinois at Chicago is committed to sustainability in all aspects of its mission. It is important that faculty, staff and students make informed decisions to conserve energy, save money, and carry out its teaching, research, and service missions.
As the mission states, sustainability is tied into UIC's mission which is:
To create knowledge that transforms our views of the world and, through sharing and application, transforms the world. To provide a wide range of students with the educational opportunity only a leading research university can offer. To address the challenges and opportunities facing not only Chicago but all Great Cities of the 21st century, as expressed by our Great Cities Commitment. To foster scholarship and practices that reflect and respond to the increasing diversity of the U.S. in a rapidly globalizing world. To train professionals in a wide range of public service disciplines, serving Illinois as the principal educator of health science professionals and as a major healthcare provider to underserved communities.
Let's try breaking down this mission to see how well the goals of the Energy Policy fit:
 1) Transforming views and the world through the creation of knowledge
Education and awareness of energy emissions will teach us not only how we can help UIC reach it's goals, but the benefits of reaching them and how they effect the world and our lives in the future. Exposure to energy issues and policies will initiate creative thinking and innovations that will contribute to climate action.
 2) Providing an educational opportunity only a leading research university can offer
As a leading research university we can look at the progress of climate action as an opportunity. Creating research opportunities for students and faculty will give them a personal relation to their issue at hand and broaden their perspective of other issues our world faces. As a leading research university, the opportunities are endless and should be promoted to strengthen the initiatives.
 3) Address the challenges and opportunities facing the Great Cities region
All goals of the Energy Policy will tie into this goal because it aims to achieve environmental, educational, workforce, and health priorities. Our goals for energy reduction take into account fossil fuels and emissions, education and personal initiatives, and quality of space.
 4) Foster diversity
Creating a more efficient university takes expertise in all areas. As we see in the goals, changes are going to occur in facilities maintenance, technology, transportation, building design, education, and plant life.
 5)Train professionals in public service disciplines
In healthcare, the quality of our surroundings are the biggest threat. By bringing clean energy standards up, we are committing to helping those in need. Through research and development professionals can be trained on all aspects of reducing emissions and creating a safe environment.

You can see that many goals can belong to more than one aspect of our mission at UIC. What I just realized out of this is that we have a great opportunity to increase our school's prestige by taking advantage of our leadership in research to find lower alternative energy costs, the best ways to implement changes, and the highest quality measurements of our emissions and reduction progress!

No comments: