UNCG LEEDing the way

by Eric Ginsburg

UNCG isn’t playing around when it comes to taking on sustainability. Nine of the university’s buildings are LEED certified, a green building certification, and renovations on the dining hall and other buildings moving forward will at least meet LEED silver standards in addition to the school’s gold—rated structures. For comparison, High Point University boasts a LEED certified school of education building, the only one on campus.

The school’s dedication to sustainability extends further, including an array of efforts around transportation, installing the school’s first solar array in July and a climate-action plan. The plan, involving more than 50 people across campus, outlines several goals such as reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

Like other colleges in Greensboro, UNCG partnered with local company Mattress Go Round and estimates that it keeps thousands of mattresses out of the landfill. But the school isn’t just keeping pace with area colleges on the issue — its efforts to fuse sustainability are the envy of other schools that take sustainability seriously, like Guilford College.

There’s a new position on the campus — the academic sustainability coordinator — a part-time gig for professor Aaron Allen to bring sustainability into the classroom. In addition to teaching an intro course on the subject, faculty attended a workshop last month about how to incorporate sustainability into classes in a variety of disciplines and are now working on syllabi for future courses.

There’s already an independent initiative at UNCG to put the topic before students in class — a sustainable tourism and hospitality course in the Bryan School of Business. It’s the first of its kind in the country, according to campus Sustainability Coordinator Trey McDonald, and emphasizes the value of protecting places.

The school’s efforts will also be bolstered by the addition of a new sustainability education and outreach specialist — Chad Carwein, who started last week — after the position remained vacant for most of last academic year.

Wanna go? UNCG is hosting a Campus Sustainability Day focused on the relationship between academics and the arts with sustainability. Oct. 23 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.