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Sustainability Council

The University Sustainability Council advises the President, the Office of Sustainability, and the campus community about issues related to the integration of sustainability into campus operations. Campus operations include the physical campus as well as the university’s core missions of teaching, research, and service. To assist the university in implementing its Climate Action Plan, the Council considers the costs and benefits of various carbon-reducing expenditures as well as policy activities that support carbon neutrality and sustainability.



The Council was established to advise the President, the Office of Sustainability, and the campus community about issues related to the integration of sustainability into the operations, the costs and benefits of various carbon reducing expenditures, and policy activities that support carbon neutrality and sustainability. The Council will oversee the University’s mission, as stated in the Strategic Plan, to be "widely recognized as a national model for a Green University" and to be "a university that seeks solutions to the world’s most challenging and vexing problems" by recommending long-term sustainability goals and policies for the University and identifying the most cost-effective means to achieve them.

The University Sustainability Council will meet quarterly or more frequently, as necessary, to:

  • Monitor implementation of the campus Climate Action Plan, review progress under the plan, and update the plan as needed
  • Develop, review, and recommend draft campus policies and guidelines that further or affect campus sustainability to the President through the Administrative Council
  • Provide cost benefit analysis of energy projects across the university and make recommendations to the Finance Committee
  • Recommend and review campus sustainability goals and program metrics
  • Recommend sustainability projects and initiatives for consideration by the Finance Committee, the Provost’s Office, the V.P. of Research, and other campus units, as appropriate
  • Review proposals and recommend projects to the Finance Committee and Facilities Council, if appropriate, that are to be financed by funds generated from student fees for sustainability considering the counsel of the Student Advisory Subcommittee
  • Recommend standards, policies and practices for sustainability to the Facilities Council for University financed construction and development projects
  • Advise the Office of Sustainability

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The University Sustainability Council will create a national model for a sustainable, “green” university.  We envision a university that is at the forefront of research, knowledge, practice, and service on sustainability, thereby creating a resilient community today and for future generations. The Council supports the sustainability goals of UMD’s Strategic Plan and Climate Action Plan and will provide leadership, guidance, and senior level support in the achievement of these goals.

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  • Committing to sustainability at all levels of the university.
  • Protecting ecosystems upon which civilization depends. 
  • Leading through action to optimize our environmental impact.
  • Making sustainability education and research an enduring priority.
  • Partnering and collaborating with the campus and the community.
  • Sharing best practices and lessons learned to enhance the sustainability of communities near and far.

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Membership in the Council includes faculty, students and staff some of whom are permanent members while others have fixed terms. Members holding fixed terms are eligible for reappointed for one additional term.

  • Carlo Colella, Vice President for Administration (Chair)
  • Colleen Wright-Riva, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (Div. Student Affairs rep.)
  • Thomas McMullen, Special Assistant to the Provost for Facilities (Div. of Academic Affairs rep.)
  • Ann Tonggarwee, Assistant to the President (Office of the President rep.)
  • Maureen Kotlas, Executive Director, Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability & Risk
  • Scott Lupin, Associate Director, Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability, & Risk and Director, Office of Sustainability
  • Susan Corry, Director of Engineering & Energy, Facilities Management
  • Bryan Quinn, Director of Technical Operation, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (Div. of Research rep.)
  • Mark Addy, Acting Director of Network and Infrastructure Services, Division of IT (Div. of IT rep.)
  • Vacant (Div. of University Relations rep.)
  • Dr. Eric Wachsman, Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, and Director, Maryland Energy Innovation Institute 
  • Dr. Giovanni Baiocchi, Associate Professor, Geographical Sciences
  • Dr. Jennifer Hadden, Associate Professor, Government & Politics
  • Dr. Yueming Qiu, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Public Policy
  • Margaret Mothershed, Undergraduate Representative
  • Paromita Basak, M.S. Candidate

Project Review

The University Sustainability Council promotes projects that:

  • Reduce the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy, energy efficiency, and alternate transportation;
  • Reduce the amount of waste created and waste disposed while increasing waste diversion from landfills;
  • Minimize water consumption while increasing water capture and reuse;
  • Create green spaces and sustainable landscapes;
  • Encourage sustainable behaviors; and
  • Integrates sustainability into teaching, research, and service at UMD.

The University Sustainability Council will review:

  • Projects endorsed by the Sustainability Fund Review Committee (to the Council) to be supported by the University Sustainability Fund (funded by an undergraduate student sustainability fee). These projects are submitted by faculty, staff, students, and student organizations to the Sustainability Fund Review Committee. The committee reviews the proposed projects according to specific criteria associated with the University Sustainability Fund. Following committee endorsement, the Chair of the Sustainability Fund Review Committee must request the full Council’s approval of the endorsed projects before withdrawals can be made from the Fund. 
  • Projects supported by University units, faculty, staff and students that require external funding (i.e. sources other than the University Sustainability Fund) and seek Council endorsement to ensure it is consistent with the University’s overall sustainability goals, policies, practices and priorities. Such projects may be brought to the Council by the Finance Committee, Facilities Council, a Vice President or a Council member. Projects Review Requests should be submitted to the Chair of the University Sustainability Council for inclusion in the meeting agenda.

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Student Involvement

As part of the Council, a Sustainability Fund Review Committee is appointed by the Council Chair from nominations provided by the Senate, the Student Government Association president, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and, in the event that the Graduate Students pay a sustainability fee in the future, the Graduate Student Government president and the Dean of the Graduate School. The Sustainability Fund Review Committee is composed of at least three undergraduate students and two non-student members of the Council. Additional members may be added by the Council. The chair of the subcommittee is the undergraduate student representative on the Sustainability Council. The Sustainability Fund Review Committee reviews proposals for funding by the sustainability student fee and makes recommendations for funding to the Council.

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Meeting Minutes

Fall 2024 Meetings: TBD

  • October 14, 2022: Summary
  • November 2022: cancelled
  • December 9, 2022: Summary
  • March 3, 2023: Summary
  • April 7, 2023: cancelled
  • May 10, 2023: Summary

Council-Commissioned Working Groups

The University Sustainability Council annually reviews general progress towards the University's Climate Action Plan (CAP), trends in selected campus sustainability metrics, and UMD's recent performance on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). This review and assessment process reveals priority areas where leadership and focused work is needed. The Council requested the creation of the following campus-wide work groups to develop recommended goals, plans, and strategies: 

  • Sustainable Buildings and Energy Sources (2012-2013)
  • Sustainable Water Use and Watershed Protection (2012-2014)
  • Education for Sustainability (2013-2014)
  • Carbon Offsets (2015-2017)
  • Carbon Neutral Fleet (2017-2019)

Each work group produced final recommendations, implementation plans, or consolidated resources for further analysis and progress. Explore Work Group Recommendations & Reports

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