Office of Sustainability seeks student feedback at pop-up events

The Office of Sustainability plans to is revise its Climate Action Plan to present in June.

Freshman biology major Sara Gjoka (left) wrote her climate action vision on a Post-it note at a pop-up event run by Office of Sustainability Programming Assistant Claire Pope in 1300 Residence Hall on Thursday. | SABRINA WALLACE / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The Office of Sustainability will revise the university’s Climate Action Plan and is employing students’ help to find out how to do so.

The Office of Sustainability has been hosting pop-up Climate Action Town Halls across campus to get student input on how the university could become more sustainable. University officials began meeting last week and are using the student feedback to revise the Climate Action Plan, which is the university’s steps to become a more sustainable campus. The office will present the finalized plan in June.

At the pop-up town halls, Office of Sustainability employees and volunteers tell students about the university’s commitment to become a carbon-free campus by 2050, along with the current steps the university is taking to make the campus more eco-friendly.

Students are encouraged to add their ideas about how the university can become more sustainable through Post-it notes that are later tabulated to generate new ideas for sustainability initiatives.

The data from the town halls will be compiled and presented to a working group in mid-October. This working group includes representatives from faculty and staff, University Housing and Residential Life, Temple Student Government, Aramark and the Energy Office.

Creating a revised Climate Action Plan will be “a more formalized process that’s university-wide,” said Kathleen Grady, the university’s director of sustainability. This process will include the Office of the Provost and Campus Operations.

Freshman flute performance major Serena Huang was eager to speak with the office’s representatives and share her ideas at a pop-up event in 1300 Residence Hall on Thursday.

Huang and others were curious about Temple’s composting options at dining halls and wants the university to expand these efforts with the new Climate Action Plan.

“I hope that they actually do implement these things, like composting, to spread it throughout campus and not just in certain buildings of campus,” Huang said.

The event at 1300 Residence Hall was one of the many Climate Action Town Halls hosted by the Office of Sustainability this month in different academic buildings and residence halls.

In April 2016, Temple re-signed the Climate Leadership Statement alongside other members of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The statement includes commitments to become carbon neutral by 2050, integrate sustainability into academic curriculum and research, increase outreach and create a resiliency commitment — an agreement to adapt to climate change and its extremes — in preparation for the effects of climate change.

The working group had its first meeting last week and divided into subcommittees on energy, sustainable design, academics and research, sustainable culture and resiliency. After receiving student feedback, the group will start working on recommendations that will help create the revised Climate Action Plan.

“We’re really looking forward to having this new, broader, more holistic look at sustainability and resiliency,” Grady said.

“[This working group] is really going to set the direction for what sustainability looks like at Temple University moving forward,” Grady added. “It’s like sustainability 2.0.”

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