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Oct. 31, 2007

 

Trinity University President Signs Climate Commitment Pledge

SAN ANTONIO – John R. Brazil, president of Trinity University, has signaled his support of environmental sustainability by signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.

 He joins more than 400 presidents at institutions across the country who have pledged to reduce and eventually eliminate global warming emissions at their respective universities. They also have expressed support for accelerating research and educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

 “The last decade has seen growing awareness of the impact of institutions of higher education on the global environment. Accompanying this awareness has been a belief that academic institutions should ‘lead by example’ by minimizing this impact,” Dr. Brazil said.

 Signing the Climate Commitment follows Dr. Brazil’s appointment of a Trinity Task Force on Sustainability to take a comprehensive look at the University’s environmental sustainability, making sure that its practices and operations are sound, socially constructive, and economically viable. He said Trinity’s commitment to environmental sustainability focuses on both campus operations and the University’s educational mission.   

 The University has engaged in a number of sustainability efforts to date, including: 

  • Converting nearly all of the landscape irrigation systems in 2000 from using potable water from the Edwards Aquifer to using recycled water.

  • Replacing nearly all toilets on campus with low-flow toilets with the assistance of the San Antonio Water System.

  • Replacing at least two large air conditioning chiller systems with more efficient ones.

  • Replacing inefficient fluorescent lamps with more efficient lamps in numerous residence halls and academic buildings throughout campus.

  • Initiating the certification of Lightner Residence Hall to be a “LEED” certified building as determined by the United States Green Building Council. Certification efforts are ongoing with hopes to expand and include the adjoining Thomas Residence Hall in 2008. 

  • Continuing recycling efforts, including desk-side paper recycling in academic and administrative areas and on each floor of each residence hall and aluminum can and plastics recycling in each building.

 The campus also maintains an ongoing commitment to reuse, said John Greene, director of Trinity’s physical plant. For example, student possessions left in residence halls at the end of each academic year are donated to Goodwill Industries, he said, adding that surplus property also is donated to various non-profit organizations and metal recovered from building renovation is reused when possible. In the area of landscaping conservation wood mulch is recovered from tree-trimming activity and native plant material is planted on a jogging track on the upper part of the campus. Trinity has been honored by the San Antonio Water System with a Water Saver of the Year award.

 In addition to examining Trinity’s environmental policies and practices, Dr. Brazil asked the task force to survey and analyze sustainability policies and practices at other colleges and universities and assess how issues of environmental sustainability are incorporated in the academic and co-curricular life of Trinity and suggest, where appropriate, ways of enhancing that presence.

 Richard Reed, professor and chair of sociology and anthropology, will chair the task force. In addition to Greene, members are professors Heather Sullivan, Kelly Lyons, Peter Kelly-Zion, and John Huston; administrators Bruce Bravo, Ana Windham, and David Tuttle; and students Alex Wallender and Molly Ellis. 

 For more information on the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, visit http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/ .                                                                        

Trinity University, founded in 1869, is one of the nation’s top private undergraduate institutions. Noted for its superior academic quality, outstanding faculty, and exceptional academic and residential resources, Trinity is committed to the intellectual, civic, and professional preparation of its students.

 

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