University of Oregon Comprehensive Environmental Policy

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted in 1997

Source File:


Policy Statement
4.100 Environment - General

Title: Comprehensive Environmental Policy

Purpose: The University of Oregon establishes this policy to identify general goals and strategies for a commitment to environmental responsibility. Through enacting and implementing the vision of this policy the University of Oregon will be a positive example and play a significant role in the advancement of environmental stewardship on the campus and in the local and greater community.

As established in the Mission Statement, "The University of Oregon strives to enrich the public that sustains it through the acceptance of the challenge of an evolving social, political and technological environment by inviting and guiding change...." In keeping with this vision and to maintain the campus effectively while also working to preserve the rights of future generations the University affirms its commitment to environmental excellence and actively promotes the public's right to a healthy, quality environment. The University of Oregon will work toward the goal of balancing fiscal and environmental responsibility in making decisions and in general University practices. The University acknowledges its role and responsibility to provide educational, social, and financial leadership to achieve the goals of the policy.

Goals and Strategies:

I. Commitment to Environmental Education. The University recognizes on going education for all members of the university community about the importance of environmental responsibility and the provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Policy.

A. The University commits to assuring that the university community is aware of the Comprehensive Environmental Policy and understands its roles in its implementation.
B. The University recognizes its academic role in fostering leadership by educating the university community about environmental responsibility and will continue to support environmental education in the curriculum.

II. Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Policies. The University recognizes that one of the primary methods of exercising its commitment to environmental responsibility is through its purchasing choices. The University will strive to obtain maximum value for its expenditures and will work towards obtaining the "best value" by balancing short and long-term costs, maintenance, life cycle, and environmental costs in purchasing goods and services.

A. The University acknowledges that environmentally responsible purchasing choices will help create and sustain markets for environmentally responsible and recycled content products.
B. The University commits to the goal of making environmentally and fiscally responsible purchasing choices that consider life cycle costs, long-term implications, and relative environmental harm of products.
C. Purchasing policies will encourage obtaining products that minimize waste products, have high recycled content, use environmental production methods, demonstrate maximum durability or biodegradability, reparability, energy-efficiency, non-toxicity, and recyclability.

III. Efficient Use and Conservation of Energy, Water, and Other Resources. The University recognizes the importance of conservation efforts and efficient use of resources as the primary method to be used to reduce resource consumption.

A. The University commits to minimizing the consumption of energy, water, and other resources by eliminating wasteful practices and promoting efficient use.
B. The University strives to maximize energy efficiency in existing buildings, renovations, and new construction.
C. The University commits to exploring and implementing well-considered and feasible conservation measures in existing buildings, renovations, and new construction.
D. The University will explore the application of developing technologies for energy systems and use of resources, as well as the potential for use of renewable energy resources.

IV. Minimize Solid Waste Production. The University recognizes the importance of minimizing solid waste generation by the community. The University will establish policies and processes that will reduce solid waste generation; first through reduction, secondarily through reuse, and finally through recycling.

A. The University commits to waste source reduction, especially at the point of purchase.
B. The University supports reuse of materials to maximize fiscal, environmental, and energy efficiency.
C. The University supports development of waste-food composting and bio-mass resource recovery programs.
D. The University commits to a comprehensive recycling program as the final step in solid waste reduction and as a means to transform waste into a resource.

V. Minimize Hazardous Waste and Toxic Materials On Campus. The University acknowledges the importance of safe management of hazardous and toxic materials and will continue to establish policies and processes to maintain efficient use, tracking, storage, and disposal of hazardous and toxic materials.

A. The University commits to keeping the presence of toxic materials on campus and the generation of hazardous waste within the university community at reasonable levels for work and research on campus.
B. The University supports environmentally responsible disposal of hazardous waste.
C. The University commits to keeping the presence of radioactive materials used on campus at reasonable levels as needed for research and supports environmentally responsible disposal of radioactive waste from within the university community.

VI. Environmentally Responsible Campus Design and Planning Principles. The University recognizes the importance of environmentally responsible practices in developing the physical characteristics of its community. The University will consider environmental implications in the development, construction, and operation of campus infrastructure, grounds, and buildings.

A. The University will strive to balance sound fiscal practices and environmental responsibility in the maintenance and further development of the planning and building of campus facilities.
B. The University will work toward the goals of providing landscaping and grounds maintenance practices that use vegetation compatible with the local environment and that use integrated pest management techniques.
C. The University has an ongoing commitment to facilitating pedestrian travel, bicycle use, and other modes of transportation that minimize environmental impact.

Follow Up, Review, and Update
Units, as determined by University administration, are required to prepare their own sub-policies based on the framework established in this Comprehensive Environmental Policy within one year from the date of ratification of this policy. Subsequent plans for implementation shall be developed within one year from the date of ratification of the policy and following sub-policies. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety shall be responsible for administering and monitoring this policy. All members of the university community are invited to support the University's effort to meet the goals of this policy by contacting the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and offering comments and suggestions for improvement. With the support and advice of the Environmental Issues Committee, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety will supervise the biannual review of this policy statement and give recommendations for updates as needed.

Clarification of the University's Political Position
The University of Oregon maintains a neutral political position and has a long-standing policy that it will not implement policies or undertake practices that would be generally understood to be political in character. The phrases "environmental responsibility" and "social leadership" in this policy shall not be interpreted to compromise, conflict with, or violate this neutral political position.