In Fall 2020, the University released a 5-year sustainability plan. The plan is inspired by programs implemented at similar higher-education institutions. The initiatives and actions listed in the plan are intended to generate positive environmental change, promote education and research, preserve resources, raise awareness, reduce expenditures, generate exciting dialogue, and create new Catholic University community engagement touchpoints.
Nearly a year after its release, the University has made significant progress on sustainability initiatives.
Environmental Progress During a Challenging Year
In FY 2021, the University re-demonstrated its commitment to safeguarding a sustainable environment on campus. Academic and facility-level efforts established a foundation for environmental stewardship at Catholic University. New efforts challenged all stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and the community – to take on bolder, inclusive, and equitable initiatives in line with contemporary best practices to preserve the University’s legacy for future generations.
Major developments in FY 2021 included the conclusion of the Energy Project, which yielded a major downward trend in water and energy use on campus; the release of the 5 Year Sustainability Plan; and accolades and recognition on national and international platforms. Due to infrastructure improvements such as the Energy Project and a 100% electricity offset, the University met its carbon emissions, energy reduction, and water reduction goals, and set new goals to drive more ambitious savings. Despite the operational challenges due to COVID-19, many initiatives pressed forward on campus including new ways to engage students around sustainability and the completion of a solar feasibility study.
This Progress Report provides a summary of where the university stands on each of its 98 sustainability initiatives included in the 5-year plan. To see a detailed analysis of each initiative, email firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the initiative tracker. The current plan runs from FY 2021 to 2025. As a reminder, the initiatives in the plan correlate to the four guiding pillars below.
FY 2022: Look Ahead
Catholic University has made great strides on a number of sustainability initiatives. In Fiscal 2022, new initiatives and actions will focus on:
- Developing a suite of university-based best practice plans focused on hardscape management, and integrated pest management plans.
- Creating five-year plans for energy and zero waste.
- Establishing new touchpoints between faculty, staff, and students on the Church’s teachings on environmental stewardship.
- Achieving a new Green Restaurant Certification and AASHE STARS rating.
- Reducing waste sent to the landfill through occupant awareness to achieve 5-year objectives.
- Implementing native and adaptive plants into the campus landscape.
- Implementing facility management best practices during residence hall move-outs.
- Codifying a sustainable design standard.
- Developing a green residence hall move-out program.
- Engaging staff, alumni, and prospective students on the University’s sustainability initiatives.