Climate Commitment

“As a leading public research and flagship university, we have the responsibility to our campus community, the state we serve and society at large to commit to actions that will lead to a more sustainable future."
—University of Utah President Taylor Randall, who renewed the Commitment in 2021

Climate change is here. It impacts us all, but not equally. The U is already taking action on climate change, and much work remains. The University of Utah is a signatory to the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments, which demonstrates the university’s commitment to carbon neutrality and climate change resilience.

A NEW, EQUITABLE RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

In 2010, the University of Utah completed its first Climate Action Plan. Since that time, great progress has been made and much has changed. Climate change worsens existing problems globally and locally. Hot summers become hotter, droughts threaten water supply and fuel wildfires, and historically marginalized members of our community experience these consequences most intensely. Fortunately, the University of Utah is well positioned to address the needs of our students, employees, patients, and the surrounding community. We are currently creating a new Climate Change Action Plan, which will outline steps toward a more sustainable and equitable future - and we need your help.

Get Involved

Our best response to climate change is one informed directly by our community—especially those most impacted.

We understand that sustainability is about more than the environment—it’s also about economic security and social equityPrioritizing the needs and voices of individuals and communities most impacted by climate change is a core value in our approach to this work. That’s why we want your input!

  • Respond to a brief online survey, for a chance to win $100 at the campus bookstore. 
  • Register for in-person and virtual roundtables.

Plan Basics

Our new plan will map out the university's response to climate change, including ways we can:

  1. REDUCE greenhouse gas emissions from university operations
  2. PREPARE for the current and future impacts of climate change
  3. EDUCATE graduates with skills and knowledge to work toward a sustainable future
  4. RESEARCH effects of and solutions to climate change

RESILIENCE ASSESSMENT

In 2020, the University of Utah launched its first Climate Resilience Assessment, which examines the institution’s ability to respond to climate threats in the following categories: Social Equity & Governance, Health & Wellness,
Ecosystem Services, Infrastructure, and Economics.

This assessment, which was completed on June 29, 2021, is an essential first step in preparing and planning for future climate impacts.

• Assessment
• Resilience Matrix

Climate Commitment Task Force Members

CO-CHAIRS

Brenda Bowen  |  Director, Global Change & Sustainability Center
Kerry Case  | Chief sustainability officer

STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Chris Benson | Sustainability and energy director
Robin Burr | Chief facilities officer
Auburn Sage Acord | Director of sustainability, ASUU
Smitha Warrier | Assistant professor, Anesthesiology; medical director of environmental & social sustainability

TASK FORCE MEMBERS

Alexis Lee| Director of environmental & social sustainability, University of Utah Health
Alison Flynn Gaffney  | Interim chief operating officer, Hospital Administration
Amy Fulton  | Director, New Leadership Academy
Andrew King  | Associate director, Planning, Design & Construction
Cathy Anderson  | Chief financial officer
Court Strong  | Associate professor, Atmospheric Sciences
Danielle Endres  | Professor, Communication
Ginger Cannon  | Active transportation manager, Sustainability Office
Jenn Watt | Director, Sustainability Education 
Jerry North| Senior director, Facilities & Engineering
John Atkins  | Director, Auxiliary Services
Lisa Potter | Communications specialist, Marketing & Communications
Lori McDonald  | Vice president, Student Affairs
Masood Parvania  | Associate professor,  Electrical & Computer Engineering
Sam Jensen Augustine | Director, Infrastructure Project Management
Steve Panish  | Assistant vice president, Capital Program & Space
Taylor Vandertoolen
 | 2022-2023 student body president, ASUU
Virginia Kelly| Associate director of sustainability, ASUU

COMMUNITY ADVISORS

Corbin Anderson | Salt Lake County Sustainability
Debbie Lyons |
Salt Lake City Sustainability
Sophia Nicholas | Salt Lake City Sustainability

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS

Michael Good  | Senior vice president, Health Sciences
Martell Teasley  | Interim senior vice president, Academic Affairs

STAFF

Julie Johnsson  | Administrative assistant, Global Change & Sustainability Center