By Madelin Shelton —
U of L was recently deemed the top college or university in the state by Sierra Magazine’s 15th Annual “Cool Schools” rankings for its sustainability initiatives.
The rankings were determined by the university’s sustainability data found in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) STARS reports. Overall, UofL was ranked 108th out of 328 colleges and universities across the United States.
Justin Mog, U of L Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives, discussed how this ranking has come out in tandem with the news that the university significantly exceeded its goals for cutting carbon emissions.
Initially the university created a climate action plan that sought to cut carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020. In May, U of L announced it ended up cutting carbon emissions by 35 percent.
Mog also commended U of L President Neeli Bendapudi for recommiting the university to its Carbon Commitment, which pledges the university to become completely carbon neutral by 2050. The commitment was originally made by former U of L President James Ramsey in 2008, but Bendapudi’s signing represents a dedication by current university leadership to advance U of L’s sustainability.
Mog said that U of L’s success in becoming more sustainable can be attributed to the university’s broad efforts in sustainability. “We are not just focusing on one aspect of this issue. We’re not just a school that does amazing work with our solid waste or our buildings or our transportation or our food. It’s because we do work in all of these different areas and because we really are serious about the social justice side of sustainability too,” he said.
“The point of pride for U of L is that we have a lot of people engaged across the university in so many different ways in making us a more sustainable place,” he said.
Mog acknowledged there is still work to be done to make U of L more sustainable. The university is looking toward divesting university funds related to fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable sources of energy, among other initiatives.
The university community can learn more about U of L’s sustainability initiatives during its Sustainability Week Oct. 23-29, 2021. The week’s events will include various activities, including sustainability forums, service projects and more.
Graphic by Madelin Shelton//The Louisville Cardinal