Over the past two weeks, political leaders, activists and scientists from nearly 200 countries have been in Paris to discuss climate change at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21, for short) – with the ultimate goal of signing a universal agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and keep the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.
More than 25,500 delegates, including President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, have had wide-ranging conversations and negotiations about reducing emissions to introducing new energy infrastructure, and universal agreement on climate change. As leaders across the world tackle the issue of climate change and global warming, the Universities at Shady Grove remains committed to serving as a leader in sustainable development right here in Maryland. Just last month, in anticipation of the COP21, USG signed the White House’s American Campus Act on Climate Pledge to demonstrate support for strong action on climate change. As a signatory, the Universities at Shady Grove is part of a robust network of more than 600 college and university presidents and chancellors who have committed their institutions to take bold climate actions.
In 2008, the Camille Kendall Academic Center was awarded LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by U.S. Green Building Council. The following year, we built our first ‘green’ garage that includes designated parking spaces for hybrids, carpool vehicles, and bicycles, as well as daylight sensors to reduce power requirements and light pollution. We currently have a second garage under construction, which has the distinction of being the first project in the country to submit an application to the Green Parking Council to become a “Certified Green Garage” – the world’s only rating system defining and recognizing sustainable practices in parking structure management, programming, design and technology. The new garage will finish construction in February 2016.
In 2016, we are slated to break ground on our biggest – and most sustainable – project yet. The Biomedical Science & Engineering Education Facility will set an example in the Mid-Atlantic region for sustainable design. This state-of-the-art building will be a leader in conserving resources and will include, rainwater harvesting; strategic daylighting; renewable energy resources; and environmentally sustainable, durable materials.
As part of our core values, USG encourages the students, faculty, staff, and administration to take its commitment to sustainability seriously.
As an organization, and more importantly, as a global society, we have responsibility to promote and encourage eco-friendly practices so future generations not only have the option of attending college, but doing so in a livable world.