“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. With this in mind, the University of Utah is creating a new Climate Change Action Plan, which will outline steps toward a more sustainable and equitable future - and we need your help.
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 equity. Prioritizing the needs and voices of individuals and communities most impacted by climate change is a core value in our approach to this work.
Thank you to everyone who completed the online survey and attended our in-person and virtual roundtables. We value and appreciate your input! Stay tuned for more information about what we heard from the community throughout this process.
Our new plan will map out the university's response to climate change, including ways we can:
- REDUCE greenhouse gas emissions from university operations
- PREPARE for the current and future impacts of climate change
- EDUCATE graduates with skills and knowledge to work toward a sustainable future
- RESEARCH effects of and solutions to climate change
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.
Climate Commitment Task Force Members
Brenda Bowen | Director, Global Change & Sustainability Center
Kerry Case | Chief sustainability officer
STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Auburn Sage Acord | Director of sustainability, ASUU
Jennifer Reed | AVP-Administrative Service
Lissa Larson | Sustainability and energy director
Robin Burr| Chief facilities officer
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
Amy Fulton | Director, New Leadership Academy
Andrew King | Associate director, Planning, Design & Construction
Bill Anderegg | Director, Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy
Anneke Enquist | Associate director of sustainability, ASUU
Cathy Anderson | Chief financial officer
Court Strong | Associate professor, Atmospheric Sciences
Danielle Endres | Professor, Communication
Gina Hawley | Interim chief operating officer, Hospital Administration
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
Corbin Anderson | Salt Lake County Sustainability
Debbie Lyons | Salt Lake City Sustainability
Sophia Nicholas | Salt Lake City Sustainability
Michael Good | Senior vice president, Health Sciences
Mitzi Montoya | Senior vice president, Academic Affairs
Julie Johnsson | Administrative assistant, Global Change & Sustainability Center