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[GreenYes] Re: Yale Pledges $1 Million for Green Fund

Published Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Yale Pledges $1 million for Green Fund
Following recent criticism, Yale renews commitment to increase 
environmental responsibility, improve policies

Contributing Reporter

Seeking to reverse criticism of its environmental record, the University 
will establish a $1 million "Yale Green Fund" to pursue
renewed environmental goals, University Provost Alison Richard said Monday.

In a Friday letter to the Advisory Committee on Environmental Management, 
or ACEM, Richard announced a new set of
environmental principles for the University. Richard and Yale President 
Richard Levin pledged to allocate the money over three
years to implement the policies, which are designed to make the 
University's operations more environmentally friendly.

The move comes as Yale makes visible moves to recommit itself to 
environmental issues following criticism of its current
policies. An April 2001 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked 
Yale's recycling program 19th in a survey of 20

The ACEM, which the Provost appointed in 2001, presented an interim report 
to Richard in April. In the report, the
Committee outlined the new principles, which Richard approved this fall. 
The committee also proposed 14 projects to enhance
the University's environmental policies.

Richard classified the 14 projects under three categories. The first 
category includes projects that are relatively simple and
inexpensive, while the second category's projects are more expensive. The 
third category includes long-term goals.

"[Third category projects] will change the way Yale does business," said 
Pierre Hohenberg, deputy provost for science and
technology. "Those are things we will have to take seriously."

Long-term goals include appointing a sustainability director to oversee the 
development and implementation of environmental
programs. Another goal outlined in the report, if realized, would bring all 
construction under standards for environmental safety
outlined by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Other proposed projects include improving recycling receptacles, initiating 
a pilot study of energy use and evaluating
landscaping practices for their impact on the environment.

Committee chairman Thomas Graedel, a professor at the School of Forestry 
and Environmental Studies, said committee
members were excited by Richard's announcement.

"We're extremely pleased," Graedel said. "That indicates more than anything 
else that Yale is very serious about these issues."

Richard said the new commitments will fundamentally improve the way Yale is 
run. But she emphasized that initiating
large-scale environmental projects at a large research university will be a 
challenging task.

"We're going to have to set ourselves aggressive goals, but realistic 
goals," Richard said.

Committee members said the new initiatives are not an explicit reaction to 
reports of Yale's under-performance in this area. But
they said such reports were crucial in raising awareness about 
environmental concerns at Yale.

"The article was describing a situation -- in which Yale was not at the 
forefront. And that is correct," Hohenberg said of the
article in the Chronicle.

Jeffrey Powell, a professor of biology at Yale and ACEM member, said the 
committee had carefully considered its proposals
and had been practical in its requests.

"We didn't go overboard," Powell said. "We tried to be reasonable."

Graedel said the committee will now focus on allocating money from the 
Green Fund to various projects. The first project will
be to establish a Web site that would make access to information about 
Yale's environmental programs more readily available.

"We are looking at our recommendations from a standpoint of prioritizing 
them in relation to the Green Fund," Graedel said.

The University has also recently made efforts to publicize improvements in 
its School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Powell said the committee should continue to focus on environmental awareness.

"I really believe it is the attitude of the faculty, the students, the 
employees. An attitude change needs to be instilled," Powell

                           Copyright  2002 Yale Daily News Publishing 
Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Published Tuesday, October 15, 2002
The proposal for a greener Blue

The administration has begun to move toward making Yale a more 
environmentally enlightened institution. This year, the
University has attempted to raise the profile of its School of Forestry and 
Environmental Studies. This week, President Levin
and Provost Richard pledged $1 million toward a plan to clean up 
operational and management procedures and to improve the
University's somewhat dismal reputation for environmental responsibility.

In an article last year in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dartmouth 
professor Noel Perrin evaluated 20 college recycling
plans and ranked Yale's second to last. "Poor Yale," the article said, was 
woefully behind many other schools in the amount of
waste we recycle each year. We recycle 19 percent of our waste, he said, as 
compared to 35 percent at nearby Brown or an
enviable 65 percent at Middlebury.

The following summer, Richard convened the Advisory Committee on 
Environmental Management, composed of University
faculty, staff and students and chaired by industrial ecology professor 
Thomas Graedel. The committee's yearlong project,
summarized in a report to Richard last April, was to evaluate Yale's 
standing environmental policies and advise the
administration on ways to improve them.

The advisory committee, once established, went on to break down into five 
subcommittees -- design, construction and
renovation, energy and water use, land use, and purchasing and waste 
management -- which recommended 11 actions to
directly improve the University's environmental performance and two 
environmental initiatives for the campus.

In a response to the committee issued Friday, Richard divided the proposals 
into three categories: individual actions of modest
expense that could be implemented right away; more sizeable and costly 
projects; and systemic plans that would require broad
modification of University operating procedures.

The committee's suggests covered broad ground, advocating the creation of a 
"Green Web site" under the auspices of the
provost's office; the implementation of an "Environmental Open House" -- a 
colloquial counterpart to Yale's environmental
graduate school -- with food, prizes, and promotional items to raise 
awareness of recycling and conservation among members
of the Yale community; the placement of public recycling receptacles and 
"attractive recycling containers" around campus; and
the creation of more committees to investigate the possibility of 
larger-scale reforms.

Richard has asked the committee to prioritize its 30 pages of suggestions 
so the University could begin putting the allocated
funds toward tangible effects. It is absolutely critical that the 
administration follow through with its commitment to significantly
alter the way Yale approaches its ecological obligations and focus not just 
on smaller changes that can be made immediately
with the allocated funds. Awareness will be good; more recycling bins will 
be better; but an ongoing commitment to keeping
environmental issues a priority will be ideal.

Yale can raise its profile as an ecologically-savvy school by continuing to 
focus on its environmental education programs, both
inside the classroom and in the larger community, and by following the 
committee's thoughtful proposals to completion. The
administrators who rightly appointed the committee have grand hopes of a 
greener Blue. But they should remember that "Poor
Yale's" reputation for environmental conscious will only be as strong as 
Yale's actual environmental improvements.

                           Copyright  2002 Yale Daily News Publishing 
Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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