I know the electric bill is a major issue for the University. But at night and on weekends I see many, many lights on in empty labs and buildings. Could we regroup our efforts to turn off some of those lights and reduce the bill?

I appreciate this question and it is indicative of many around our campus about the importance of thinking green. I think everyone should be vigilant about turning off lights. There are occupancy sensors in various buildings in corridors and offices or auditoriums. There is a master lighting program that controls...
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How much does this campus spend on landscaping and is it really the best use for our funding?

The current landscaping contract has two component parts—landscape maintenance and trash collection and enhancements. Landscape maintenance and trash collection are a year-round activity and include the mowing, weed control, watering, maintaining planted shrub beds as well as the daily trash collection, sweeping, and cleaning of our campus sidewalks and curb...
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Please tell us what our University is doing regarding economic and environmental sustainability? Your predecessor signed the President's Climate Commitment. What are your thoughts and have there been any actions taken regarding this plan?

Bob Rowan, associate vice president for facilities and operations: There's a plan; it has some very aggressive goals. There's a lot this campus can do to improve our footprint and although we're working on it, we have a long way to go.
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What are your thoughts on the greening of the campus: pollution resistant, max shade trees and bushes? The city poses challenges.

The city environment does pose challenges for trees. Both the University and the city try to use hardy trees that thrive in this area. We also try to use different species on different blocks to create a more diverse and interesting streetscape while keeping a unifying identity for each block....
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To what extent does the University support sustainable energy initiatives? Is there active campus interest and strong UM funding?

The University takes sustainability seriously. There is an active Campus Sustainability Steering Committee that measures and takes steps to reduce our carbon footprint. We also have created an “Opportunity Assessment" fund that invests $600,000 a year in various energy conservation projects that help reduce our energy consumption. Recent projects include...
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