In terms of sustainability, 2018 was a big year for the University of Pittsburgh – and communicating those efforts campus-wide as part of our Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge competition is an important piece of creating a culture of sustainability at Pitt.
In January 2018, Pitt formalized decades of green initiatives with the first campus-wide Pitt Sustainability Plan. An introductory letter by Chancellor Gallagher acknowledged: Long-term sustainability “requires deep and lasting changes that will enable future generations to thrive in a world that is environmentally responsible, socially equitable and economically robust. It is a great challenge—one that our University’s mission, which is to harness knowledge for society’s gain, perfectly positions us to tackle.”
In July 2018, Pitt gave campus-wide sustainability activities, strategies, and partnerships a centralized home by establishing the Office of Sustainability. Focused on implementing the Pitt Sustainability Plan, campus-wide sustainability efforts are now tracking measurable progress on the Plan’s 61 goals across stewardship, exploration, community, and culture.
As a result, we’re celebrating achievements big and small that occurred in the 2018 calendar year, including:
- 22.2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2008;
- Our first ever AASHE STARS certification (Silver) and Bike Friendly University designation (Bronze);
- New Sustainable.Pitt.edu website to share University sustainability activities on- and off-campus;
- 6 new faculty fellows focused on sustainability teaching and research;
- A bevy of food-focused awards (2 Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant Gold dining halls, 21% Real Food used in Market Central, a U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Food Recovery Award for composting and food rescue);
- Ongoing energy and water usage reductions in line with Pittsburgh 2030 District goals;
- A commitment to local, low-impact hydropower that will provide ~25% of our annual electricity usage;
- Continued free transit fares for Pitt faculty, staff, and students;
- All large building projects initiating design are pursuing LEED certification (Scaife Addition and Renovation, Recreation & Wellness Center, and Petersen Sports Complex Addition);
- A wide variety of sustainability-centered service and engagement opportunities, including Recyclemania, new departmental green teams and stewardship programs, Clutter for a Cause, and four signature volunteer days of service.