Although somewhat late to the game, the University of San Francisco has a strong campus sustainability record. But these efforts have not been well coordinated or documented, until now.
In 2011, I became aware that although USF had signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2009, in the absence of an Office of Sustainability no action had been taken. I approached the President and Provost of the University and proposed a committee structure to begin carrying our our obligations as signatories.
Around the same time, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences identified sustainability as a strategic area for the College and created Sustainability Task Force. The first action of the Task Force was to recommend that the College take a leadership role on sustainability within the University by appointing its own Sustainability Director who would work in conjunction with the Sustainability Task Force and the Dean’s Office to develop curricular, academic, and structural initiatives to promote sustainability at USF and integrate it into the College.
Money was not available to create the position, but the Dean offered course release if a faculty member were willing to take on the appointment. My colleagues on the committee asked if I would take the job and I have held the position since then.
The second action of the Task Force was researching and writing the College of Arts & Sciences Sustainability Strategic Plan (PDF).
Currently several members of the Task Force are on the University Sustainability Council which is completing USF’s first Climate Action Plan.
USFpedals is another project I’ve been involved with. The website documents the work of my Environmental Studies class in 2011 to produce the University’s first Bicycle Transportation Plan: “University of San Francisco Bicycle Transportation Plan: ‘Change the World from Here’ (by Bicycle)” (PDF, 8.6MB; or download the 2-page Executive Summary).
The website continues to serve as a resource for information and updates on efforts to implement recommendations in the plan. We are currently hoping to receive funding to construct a covered and secure bike parking facility on campus. In 2012 we held a Bicycle Shelter Design Competition in which students presented drawings and models of their vision for covered and secure bike parking at USF.