Ohio EPA recently recognized Ohio University (OU) in Athens with our highest environmental stewardship award for the University’s focus on sustainability and being a national leader in campus environmental stewardship.
OU is the first university to achieve Platinum-level recognition in Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program. They earned the E3 Achievement Award in October 2016, and the E3 Gold Achievement Award in October 2017. OU’s focus on sustainability includes putting stewardship and conservation into practice across campus, incorporating sustainability into the curriculum and sharing the knowledge and methods with other universities and organizations across the country. Other sustainability achievements of OU include:
- The first public institution in Ohio to employ a full-time staff member dedicated to sustainability.
- Through their Office of Sustainability, coordinates events, purchases green cleaners and requires new construction on campus to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards.
- Operates the largest in-vessel composting system at any university in the nation. They can divert 100 percent of organic materials from their dining halls and the Central Food Pantry from landfills by sending it to their compost facility.
- Buys local food and donates excess food to a local food bank.
- Working toward a Zero Waste to landfill goal.
- Implemented an Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative, achieving a 23 percent reduction of energy from June to October 2015 and saving $385,000.
- Received the Bicycle Friendly Campus/City designation from the League of American Bicyclists.
- Founded and participates in Recyclemania, now an international competition with more than 1,000 universities from 47 states and Canada participating. OU won the 2017 National Champion of the Game Day Recycling Challenge.
- Sends faculty and staff to speak at regional and national sustainability conferences.
- Partners with community organizations to send food, clothing and reusable items during student move-out days to help 800 local families rather than sending the unwanted items to a landfill.
|Ohio EPA’s E3 program recognizes businesses and other organizations for completing environmentally beneficial activities is an incentive for organizations to commit to ongoing environmental stewardship.
Platinum level honors organizations that expand their environmental program beyond their facility and demonstrate how their environmental stewardship efforts benefit the local community, region or larger geographic area.
To obtain recognition for stewardship, an organization can work through four levels of recognition. In addition to Platinum level, these include Achievement at the base level; Silver Level recognizing outstanding accomplishments in environmental stewardship; and Gold Level recognizing comprehensive environmental stewardship programs. All levels require a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements. To learn more, visit epa.ohio.gov/ocapp/ohioe3, or call 1-800-329-7518.