New commission on environmental sustainability explores options

Nov 6th, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, November 6, 2008

A new commission is working to help the university act locally and think globally.

Announced by Chancellor Harvey Perlman during his Sept. 4 State of the University address, the Chancellor’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability was formed to examine existing and develop new environmentally and ecologically responsible practices for the university. The commission was created on recommendations of the Faculty Senate and ASUN.

“One of the significant issues facing our country is the ability to sustain our quality of life in the face of the threat of climate change, increasing demands on exhaustible sources of energy, and the overuse of our valuable natural resources,” Perlman said. “This university should take a leadership role in meeting these challenges.

“The Commission on Sustainability will consider how the university, and each of us individually, can contribute to addressing this problem.”

The commission is made up of 17  faculty, staff and students, representing a broad array of expertise and disciplines, each serving a three-year appointment. Co-chairs of the commission are Wayne Drummond, dean of the College of Architecture, and Kim Todd, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture.


“What the chancellor has charged us with is the classic act locally, think globally,” said Todd. “We will determine what options are possible, making sure they are appropriate for UNL.

“This is a long-term commission. We will be developing concepts that will truly be sustainable, not just something that looks good on the surface.”

The group has met three times and sat in on a Web seminar on environmental sustainability. Drummond said each member is studying an area of interest and will report to the commission.

“Our initial task is to get everyone on the commission familiar with the incredible scope and breadth of the challenge we have been given,” said Drummond. “We will use this information to build a database of Web sites, best practices and existing projects that other universities are doing to make themselves more sustainable.”


Drummond envisions a three-phase process for the commission.

In the first year, the commission will develop an inventory and analysis of sustainable practices, making an initial recommendation of ideas that can be implemented immediately. The commission will monitor those practices in the second year, while continuing to develop more complicated concepts that may require a larger investment by the university. The third phase will use feedback to refine and monitor progress of sustainable practices implemented.

“We will not be waiting three years then unleash our findings,” Drummond said. “We want to work as quickly as possible on this. However, we must also be thoughtful as solving a problem in one area may create problems in another. We must be sure our recommendations are in sync and will make a definite contribution to UNL’s environmental sustainability.”

The commission is interested in drawing ideas from faculty, staff and students. Ideas can be sent to Drummond at or 472-9212, or Todd at or 472-8618.

— Story by Troy Fedderson, University Communications

Chancellor’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability

• Douglas Anderson, UNL Extension
• Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Civil Engineering
• Bruce Currin, Human Resources
• Jennifer Dam Shewchuk, IRP
• Clark deVries, Utility Services
• Wayne Drummond, Architecture
• Teresa Grosserode, Graduate Research Assistant
• David Henderson, Philosophy
• Kyle Jackson, undergraduate
• Lisa King, Child, Youth, and Family Studies
• Suzan Lund, Sponsored Programs
• Glen Schumann, University Housing
• Maggi Thorne, Athletics
• Kim Todd, Agronomy and Horticulture
• Michelle Waite, Chancellor’s Office
• Corinne Wardian, Fine and Performing Arts
• Harvey Perlman, Chancellor
• Susan Poser, Chancellor’s Office
• Kim Rauscher, Chancellor’s Office

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