Sustainability Summit attendees view the Topsy Turvy bus as part of the summit at CU Denver

Faculty, staff and students came together recently to learn how CU Denver is actively pursuing academic, research and facilities goals in support of a sustainable campus.

The Sustainability Summit at St. Cajetan’s on the Auraria Campus was convened by the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sustainability to review CU Denver sustainability activities of the last five years and gather support for sustainability goals for the next five years. Our university is implementing processes that support the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment as well as former Gov. Bill Ritter’s Greening of State Government executive order.

  • Jarrett Smith, CU Denver sustainability officer, welcomed attendees and gave an overview of CU Denver initiatives as part of the University of Colorado Denver’s 2020 Strategic Plan.
  • Jan Bortles, Auraria Higher Education Center sustainability director, presented a summary of AHEC activities in support of the Climate Commitment and Sustainable Campus Program of the student government association.
  • Gayle Bradbeer, Auraria Science and Engineering librarian, promoted the Auraria Library Discovery Wall that has been installed in the library to support and display sustainability related projects, events and faculty/student initiatives.
  • Greg Cronin, associate professor of integrative biology, gave a presentation about the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences sustainability minor and his research and creative activities around sustainability.
  • Ken Bettenhausen, management program discipline director in the Business School, spoke about the extensive list of sustainability related courses, programs, research, events and faculty involvement in sustainability at the Business School.
  • Fred Andreas, assistant professor adjunct in the College of Architecture and Planning, provided graphic displays of new building designs supporting Net Zero Energy buildings, use of bios wales in urban landscapes to promote urban agriculture replacing traditional landscaping which can support micro businesses, living walls that use energy efficiently in building design to support Net Zero Energy buildings.
  • Jennifer Kagan, assistant to the Wirth Chair in the School of Public Affairs, reminded participants of the monthly S2 sustainability speaker series managed by her office, and the various programs for faculty and students undertaken by SPA in support of a sustainable campus.
  • Ben and Jeremy Johnson, students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, spoke about the hydrogen fuel vehicle Shell Eco Marathon competition that his program won last year and that the college hopes to achieve again this year with a new vehicle design. They urged greater attention be given to hydrogen fuel as an emerging sustainable energy resource for the future.

Following the presentations the attendees worked in small groups to identify the current needs at the campus level for new sustainable projects and services and listed goals for the institution that will provide the next steps for the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sustainability.

Each table reported on its recommendations and a discussion ensued as to the best approach to implement new initiatives in support of an enhanced sustainable campus program at CU Denver.

The Sustainability Summit concluded when Jonathan Dubinsky, doctoral student in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, gave attendees the opportunity to view the Topsy Turvy Bus. It is a biodiesel bus fueled by used cooking oil that Dubinsky takes to local schools to introduce the concept of sustainable energy sources from renewable and reused materials.

(Photo: Sustainability Summit attendees gather in front of the Topsy Turvy bus as part of the summit held at CU Denver.)

CU in the City logo