Saving green by going green

Megan Brown

For years UK has promised climate and sustainability reform, and its new Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Commitment may reduce tuition as well. 

From expansions in recycling, to water bottle filing stations in classroom buildings and free public transportation, UK has made changes to facilities on campus with the goal of creating a healthier environment for future generations. 

The reduction commitment said UK will reduce its “greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 2010 levels by 2025.” 

In addition to improving the environment, the commitment will also decrease room and board fees, tuition and tax payer dollars devoted to facilities’ energy costs.

Global climate change is something “our students will be impacted by regardless of their field of study or the professional careers they choose,” said Shane Tedder, UK sustainability coordinator. “The University’s commitment to reduce the emissions signals to our students the importance of this challenge and we will provide them with opportunities to engage with our efforts — using the campus as a living laboratory — that will help them prepare for the challenges they will be tasked with throughout their professional careers.” 

More than a decade in the making, the new commitment was announced on Dec. 15 of last year, and was the product of the President’s Sustainability Action Committee. Established by Capilouto in 2008, the committee works on reducing negative environmental impacts on campus.

In addition, a new Facility Sustainability Council will provide scholarships for students pursing advances in sustainability efforts through research, teaching and learning.

Other sustainability efforts by UK include the creation of the Sustainability Task Force in 2005, the investment of $25 million in 2011 to upgrading 61 buildings on campus, adding sustainability to one of the seven core values on UK’s master plan in 2014 and the creation of 318 sustainability courses in 2015.