NYU Begins to Bloom

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By Nelson Harvey

The city government is not the only high-profile institution in New York that's beginning to take its environmental impact seriously. Last week, New York University kicked off the second year of it's Sustainability Task Force, a body of about 45 students, faculty and staff from across the university charged with initiating greening projects on campus and making recommendations to central administration.

As an NYU student, I've served on the Task Force since it was founded in 2006. While last year was primarily dedicated to getting things up and running, the coming year will feature a much more comprehensive environmental agenda for NYU. Among the highlights:

  • A pledge, in partnership with eight other local universities and the city of New York, to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017.
  • The implementation of a comprehensive energy strategy, which will include a 5 percent overall reduction in electricity use from 2007 to 2008, the purchase of renewable energy credits to offset power purchased from ConEd, and renovation of the NYU Central Plant, among other projects.
  • A Sustainability Advocate Program, where participating staff from throughout the university will dedicate a few hours of paid work time per month to greening their workspace or department.
  • High levels of administrative buy-in, at least if this memo from Executive Vice-President Michael Alfano is any indication. Last spring, the university also brought on Cecil Scheib as director of Sustainability and Energy.

Look out for more on the environmental scene at NYU in the coming weeks and months.

Nelson Harvey is a student at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study focusing on Renewable Energy Studies. He has worked at the NYU Recycling Shop, a member of NYU’s Green Action Plan Task Force. Nelson blogs regularly at The Wild Green Yonder.

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