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UT Arlington launches Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: energy, environment, faculty, food, global, science, staff, students

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The University of Texas at Arlington today announced a strengthened commitment to creating sustainable urban communities through its new Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact at UT Arlington.

The Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact aligns with UTA's Strategic Plan 2020.

The introduction follows a successful period within the Office of Sustainability, which has received national recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency for UT Arlington’s efforts to reduce food waste, implemented a new car-sharing program, launched the first Global Reporting Initiative report as a Sustainability Action Plan, and in 2011 helped to launch The Green at College Park, the first certified Sustainable Sites Initiative landscape.

The move is aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan 2020, which aims to enhance quality of life by developing more sustainable communities that focus on the natural, built, economic, cultural and social environments. It also unifies and integrates environmental improvement approaches across campus. 

The Green at College Park functions as an ecological water detention system and large-scale raingarden.

“The activities of the Institute will be broad in scope focusing on research, education, operations, training and outreach,” said John Hall, vice president for administration and campus operations whose office will direct the Institute. “The Institute will be the focal point for sustainability activities and resources.”

“Extending beyond our campus, we are also part of the larger community of North Texas, which is rapidly growing and facing challenges like poor air quality, constrained water supplies, energy demand and lack of transportation options.  The Institute will collaborate with businesses, government and communities to solve these problems.”

Hall added that the Institute’s dual mission of community service and research would, for example, foster interactions between architects and ecologists, engineers and city planners, as well as chemists and environmental managers.

Meghna Tare will lead the Institute as an executive director and will oversee the strategic planning and day-to-day operations. Since 2010, she has served as director of the Office of Sustainability, which will transition into the new Institute and eventually move from Preston Hall to a new location on campus.

“We will develop partnerships with entities outside of UT Arlington in the implementation of sustainable programs and policies that will help North Texas be a sustainable community and increase our global impact,” Tare said, adding that the Institute will be intimately linked to the educational mission of the University.

Trayless dining has helped UT Arlington reduce its food waste, earning recognition from the Evironmental Protection Agency.

“It will naturally connect to the undergraduate minor in environmental and sustainability studies, and the graduate program in earth and environmental science, preparing students for success in a complex and changing global environment. In our second year, the Institute will offer a certificate program in sustainability.”

James Grover, interim dean of the UT Arlington College of Science, said such a certification program would appeal to students and employees in diverse disciplines.

“An increasing variety of careers address sustainability in organizations such as corporations, government agencies and consulting firms,” Grover said. “These careers require versatile individuals with technical skills in science, engineering, business administration, policy, planning and communication. Well-designed programs enable those interested in sustainability to build on prior skills and experience to expand their capabilities and opportunities.”

Visit www.uta.edu/sustainability or call 817-272-9299 for more information about sustainable activities and programs offered at UT Arlington.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 40,000 students around the world and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.