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Sustainability represents societal efforts to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A growing number of institutions of higher education—along with corporations and federal, state, and local governments—are directing attention to sustainability, as concerned citizens realize that the Earth's resources are finite. Because our economy and society are dependent on a healthy environment, sustainability requires balancing economic success with environmental conservation and social equity, also known as the triple bottom line.
The University of Texas at Arlington is committed to this triple bottom line and is striving to become a leader in campus sustainability through the efforts of administration, faculty, staff, and students. The University is actively engaged in greening facility operations, promoting innovative research, supporting and encouraging student initiatives, implementing environmentally and sustainability focused curriculum, and sponsoring public service initiatives.
At UT Arlington, we recognize that universities must move to the forefront of society's sustainability efforts. University President James D. Spaniolo launched the Sustainability Committee in October 2007, and the Office of Sustainability was established in 2010 to coordinate campus efforts and provide an official stance on such an important issue. The goal of the office is to expand the scope of the program and pursue long-range planning and implementation.
Environmental sustainability is one of the guiding principles found in UT Arlington's Master Plan. The University respects and is informed by the existing natural regional systems in the use of native plant materials, climate responsive outdoor spaces, and good stewardship of water.
Taking the LEED
As a part of the University's commitment to sustainability as outlined in the campus Master Plan, the new Engineering Research Building and the Special Events Center will include many sustainability elements—such as energy management systems, daylight harvesting, capturing rainwater for irrigation, and more—in an effort to achieve, at minimum, LEED Silver certification.
Director, Office of Sustainability
Meghna Tare is the Director of Sustainability for UT Arlington. In 2010, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education named her a Technical Advisor for their Green Buildings work group.
Prior to joining the University, Tare was an environmental manager with the city of Dallas' Office of Environmental Quality, where she worked on a variety of environmental projects related to climate change, air quality, green buildings, energy efficiency and outreach, community gardens, and environmental management systems. She also taught environmental studies classes at California State University at Hayward and the Collin County Community College.
Tare holds a Master's degree in environmental studies from San Jose State University and a Master's degree in chemistry from the University of San Francisco.
The Office of Sustainability at the University of Texas at Arlington aspires to provide the framework for environmental stewardship, natural resource conservation, emissions reductions, and sustainability. The office will act as a conduit to support and promote the University's environmental commitments and policies. In addition to promoting the University's environmental policy, the Office of Sustainability is committed to enhancing awareness and understanding of the principles of sustainability throughout the University community. This awareness will help UT Arlington students, staff, and faculty to incorporate green practices and procedures within all areas and aspects of the University. The Office of Sustainability is concerned with the health and safety of the University community as well as with the health of the environment. This office is focused on the continual implementation of programs and initiatives that not only create a sustainable campus, but improves the quality of campus life in general. The Office of Sustainability also helps to develop and promote academic programs, scholarship, research, service learning, and educational events focused on environmental and sustainability studies.
In addition to on campus activities, the Office of Sustainability at The University of Texas at Arlington remains steadfast in maintaining direct involvement within local, regional, national, and international organizations and programs which promote environmental sustainability. Beyond compliance with these sustainable agencies, the office actively pursues outreach opportunities to expand its impact beyond the physical boundaries of UT Arlington.
Aligned with the UT Arlington's core values of academics, community, and social responsibility, the Office of Sustainability provides innovative initiatives, projects, programs, campaigns, educational services, group activities, and outreach opportunities. The various activities aspire to facilitate a culture of sustainability on campus, regionally and nationally that will position the university as a leader in sustainability.
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