Photo of Duke Chapel

Duke's Campus Sustainability Committee

Overview

The Duke University Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC), a standing committee appointed by the President, is responsible for making recommendations to guide campus sustainability policies. Committee members are also tasked with championing these sustainability initiatives and communicating them to each member's respective constituencies to foster a more sustainable campus community. 

Over the past several years, Duke has made great strides in expanding our sustainability efforts across the operational and academic areas of campus and amplifying these efforts to the broader community. The work of the Campus Sustainability Committee to expand the CAP into a broader Sustainability Strategic Plan has guided much of this success. Since 2011, the CSC has assessed current efforts and worked to develop goals around important topics such as water, waste, food, natural resources, sustainable investment and procurement. Tim Profeta, Director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will co-chair the committee along with Dr. Tallman Trask, Executive Vice President.

History

In July 2007, Duke agreed to participate in the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment to look at reducing the global emission of greenhouse gases. The goal of this initiative was to develop institutional plans to achieve climate neutrality in the future. To help create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of such a plan at Duke, President Brodhead asked the Executive Vice President and Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment to co-chair the Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC). The initial charge to this committee was two-fold. First, the committee would be responsible for gathering data, and analyzing and defining Duke's overall greenhouse gas emissions by June 30, 2008. Secondly, the committee was charged with developing a clear plan of action with targets, strategies, and timetables to reduce Duke's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by January 31, 2009. Operationally, the main source of Duke's GHG emissions are the campus steam plant, electrical usage, and transportation. To facilitate the planning process, the committee formed working groups around these three specific focus areas, plus one to communicate Duke's efforts to address climate change and the ways that individual behavior impacts our success. Another subcommittee focused on incorporating sustainability and climate change into the educational elements of campus has also been developed.

After review by senior staff and the Board of Trustees, Duke officially submitted its Climate Action Plan (CAP) on October 15, 2009 to the ACUPCC. The target date for neutrality is 2024. The charge of the CSC transitioned to overseeing implementation, tracking progress towards CAP milestones, and reporting back to the campus community on the CAP and other campus sustainability efforts. As our initiatives grow and change at Duke, so does the focus of the CSC. Since 2011, the committee has focused on expansion of the current CAP to a broader Sustainability Strategic Plan.

Current Committee Task

Last year, the CSC started the process of a Climate Action Plan (CAP) update including evaluating emission reduction efforts to date, reviewing assumptions made in the original planning efforts and assessing future strategies to meet the campus 2024 goal of carbon neutrality. The 2016-17 CAP update was primarily focused on energy-related emission reductions, to build upon the 37% reduction achieved in this area since 2007 and aggressively pursue energy efficiency strategies in new and existing buildings, central utility improvements and renewable energy technologies where feasible.

The focus for the 2017-18 academic year will transition to transportation-related GHG emissions to finalize the 2017 CAP update. The emissions from employee commuting, air travel and the campus fleet have proven harder to impact due to their personal nature. This year the CSC, with the assistance of a Nicholas School of the Environment master’s student, will take a hard look at opportunities to influence transportation-related behavior and new technology that might make choosing alternatives easier for the campus community. Along with the transportation focus, the CSC will continue to guide and advise on the proposed CHP project including developing a more robust stakeholder process this fall to ensure community engagement as well as revisiting the communication strategies of the original CAP to foster a greater understanding of Duke’s sustainability efforts.

Current Members

Faculty

  • Tim Profeta - Director of Nicholas Institute, Sanford, CSC Co-Chair
  • Fred Boadu - Pratt School of Engineering
  • Charlotte Clark - Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Lisa Day - School of Nursing
  • Lee Ferguson - Pratt School of Engineering
  • Rick Larrick - Fuqua School of Business
  • Megan Mullin - Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Jed Purdy - School of Law
  • Elizabeth Shapiro - Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Jeff Vincent - Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Norm Wirzba - Divinity School
  • Justin Wright - Trinity School - Biology

Administration

  • Tallman Trask - Executive Vice President, CSC Co-Chair
  • Matt Arsenault - Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative
  • Tavey Capps - Sustainable Duke
  • Carl DePinto - Parking and Transportation
  • Jason Elliott - Sustainable Duke
  • Joe Gonzales - Housing and Residence Life
  • Mark Hough - Facilities Management Department
  • Anne Light - Office of Public Affairs & Government Relations
  • Leanora Minai - HR Communications
  • John Noonan - Facilities Management Department
  • Jane Pleasants - Procurement

Students

  • Lucila Bloemendaal - Environmental Alliance
  • Elliott Davis - Environmental Alliance
  • Ariyani Challapalli - Duke Climate Coalition
  • Tamasha Pathirathna - Duke Climate Coalition
  • Elizabeth Rublev - Duke Sustainability Board
  • Emily True - Duke Sustainability Board
  • Jake Hoberg - Duke Student Government
  • Kristina Smith - Duke Student Government
  • Regan Fink - Graduate and Professional Student Council
  • Bobby Harris - Graduate and Professional Student Council