USF President Signs Historic Environmental Commitment

TAMPA, Fla. (April 12, 2008) –University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft joined the growing list of signatories in the fight against global warming today as she signed the historic American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment during the Getting Green by Going Green Expo at the USF Sun Dome.

 The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is a campaign to assemble institutional pledges to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate higher education’s research and educational efforts to equip society with the information and tools to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

“It makes perfect sense for institutions of higher learning to help lead the way in addressing environmental problems, especially global warming,” said Genshaft. “College and university campuses are teeming with the brainpower, the expertise and the passion to make a tremendous contribution to confronting climate change.  I’m proud to join with my colleagues across the nation in this endeavor."

Sharon Hanna-West, the Exide Distinguished lecturer of Ethics and Sustainability at the USF College of Businessand one of the coordinators for the Going Green event, said the interest in the Expo has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“One of the most gratifying aspects of this event has been the cross discipline partnering taking place within USF and the overwhelming support from our business and community partners,” said Hanna-West. “I believe that sustainability is a topic can unite us all. We all need to work together to address the pressing challenges of climate change.”

Sustainability initiatives abound among faculty and students throughout USF in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences (geography, environmental science and policy), Business, Engineering (civil and environmental engineering), Public Health and Architecture and Community Design, as well as the Kiran B. Patel Center for Global Solutions.  In fact, USF faculty, students and staff have formed a group called the “USF Sustainability Partners.”

The University of South Florida is engaged in activities and research related to the environment, including: 

• USF has won many awards from Hillsborough County for its recycling program in the years of 1994-1997, as well as 2000.

• The College of Engineering faculty boasts one of the world’s leading scientists and experts on solar energy. D. Yogi Goswami, Ph.D., the John & Naida Ramil Professor of Chemical Engineering and co-director of the University of South Florida’s College of Engineering Clean Energy Research Center.  He recently received two of the highest honors in the field of solar and sustainable energy: the American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) 2007 Hoyt Clarke Hottel Award and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) 2007 Frank Kreith Energy Award.

• The first cohort of seven University of South Florida faculty members have been named research fellows of the Kiran B. Patel Center for Global Solutions.  They will be working as a team to address critical problems facing the developing world including potable water, sanitation, sustainable economic development and public health challenges.

• Among the active student and faculty groups is Emerging Green Builders, a USF student group affiliated with USGBC/United States Green Building Council, committed to promoting and educating the public about green building and infrastructure.

• Sustainability-related courses are available in many disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and many offer action research opportunities for students.  Analyzing corporations as sustainable organizations, reconciling competing interests in land and water, exploring green design and infrastructure management are project topics that continue to be explored.

• A team of students has worked with the USF Sun Dome staff to evaluate strategies for energy and water conservation and waste reduction and devised a series of recommendations.

• USF has a track concentration on Building Sustainable Enterprise in the College of Business.

• USF has a chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World.

• USF has a chapter of Engineers without Borders.

The Going Green expo included panel discussions and workshops ranging from making compost to water conservation.  Michael Lokey, of Lokey Trucks and Isuzu of Tampa Bay, displayed his bio-fuel-powered race car and demonstrate how to make bio-fuels.  

USF was one of several sponsors for the expo, along with Tampa Electric Company, Lykes Brothers, Inc. and the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission.

Visit USF's blog to see a video of the signing. 

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year.  The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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