There has long been enthusiasm around making UNCG a more sustainable institution. Isolated efforts in facilities operations, academic circles, as well as student groups have helped UNCG progress in positive ways. Complementing these efforts, was the appointment of an “Environmental and Sustainability Manager,” a position that extended beyond that of Recycling Manager, and a consequence of Executive Order 156 signed by Governor Hunt in 1996. The Environmental & Sustainability Manager is charged with reducing the overall environmental impact of the university in addition to waste management responsibilities. Since that time, the Office of Waste Reduction & Recycling has spear-headed and assisted many initiatives on campus including composting, environmentally sensitive purchasing, biodeisel use, conservation education and more. In 2004, the OWRR conducted and wrote a comprehensive sustainability assessment underscoring our achievements in sustainability as well as possible areas for improvement.
Despite the independent initiatives of the OWRR and within the campus community, a unified, cross-campus collaboration was lacking. In the Fall of 2006, resulting from an initiative of faculty senate president, Anna Marshall-Baker, Provost Uprichard, and Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs, Reade Taylor, the sustainability committee was born. Following a campus-wide invitation to voluntarily serve on the committee, over 50 staff, faculty, students & administrators responded. While great things were already happening across campus, it became apparent that a marriage of these efforts would benefit the university immensely. The University Committee on Sustainability brought to light UNCG’s commitment to becoming a sustainable institution – one that strives to “shape a legacy of ecological stewardship, social equity, and economic responsibility”.