Eliminating food waste, attracting more student residents and reducing energy use are a few of the possible topics to be discussed at the Sept. 27 forum from 10- 11am in the SU Ballroom.
With the goal of limiting NKU’s environmental impact, the Office of Sustainability has organized the forum in such a way that encourages students, faculty, staff and surrounding community members to communicate their largest environmental concerns.
After discussing concerns, Sustainability Manager Tess Phinney, plans to incorporate any trending topics in the 2017 Sustainability Strategy.
The strategy is meant to be an updated action plan that will help fulfill the pledge that NKU has made to be carbon neutral by 2050.
In order to be carbon neutral, the college would need to yield a net zero carbon footprint. Therefore, any carbon emissions that come from NKU would need to be offset in some capacity.
Phinney hopes that the forum will influence people to take action while also setting forth an achievable measures to meet the pledge.
“There are so many more people that are passionate about this process than I originally known of,” Phinney said. “But there are so many ways people can start to become more sustainable, and this forum will hopefully inspire them as much as it is meant to inform us.”
As of right now, Phinney and Sustainability intern Mackenzie Boyd are focusing on four prongs to make sure the environment remains a priority for the university.
Academics, engagement, operations and planning are at the forefront of the strategy because of how intertwined each is with policy implementation.
According to Boyd, a junior environmental scientist major, the forum is meant to hone in on the engagement and academics aspect.
“We want to really focus on the big hits,” Boyd said. “We don’t want our sustainability strategy to have five pages greening our landscape, if that is not what the community is worried about.”
Both Phinney and Boyd said the forum was made possible by the volunteers that make up a working group. The team is open to the public, and are largely assisting with getting public feedback as to what should be included in the strategic plan.
“Basically, the work group is a coalition of students, faculty, staff and community members that look how to best implement these issues that face our campus,” Boyd said. “We have to address budget issues, and how to accomplish both little and larger environmental goals. They are are the boots on the ground that help us progress.”
Thus far NKU has made many strides to accomplishing carbon neutrality. Phinney listed the bike sharing program, better forms of public transportation and Griffin Hall’s roof access garden.
Already the university hosts an environmentally conscious community- from water-quality monitoring programs to the student-ran organization Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students.
For information on the forum and other environmental initiatives, visit http://green.nku.edu/.