Minnesota State University, Mankato is taking giant steps towards becoming a greener campus with the Climate Action Plan (CAP).
Dr. Russell Fricano, the assistant professor of Urban Planning, led a mobile tour in late September alongside some other MNSU facilities managers for urban planners attending the American Planning Association conference.
The American Planning Association (APA) is an organization of urban planning.
The tour led its attendants through campus, stopping at several departments where facilities managers showed how their departments implemented the CAP and reduced the carbon footprint of the university. The tour highlighted student bus transportation, filtered water stations, energy efficient lighting, bicycle repair stations, a garden and food distribution program for the Campus Kitchen, a car share program and so much more. There are even electric vehicle charging stations for those who have electric vehicles.
On the mobile tour, Fricano covered sustainable development, which, he said, “includes reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and conservation of natural resources is a major priority in the urban planning field.”
He also said that the university has a goal to reduce GHG’s by about two percent each year and that there are three strategies to make sure this goal is met: mitigating, adaptive, and promotional strategies.
“Mitigating strategies include buildings/energy and transportation categories,” said Fricano. “Adaptive strategies are in waste water and purchasing, and promotional strategies are in the education category.”
Along with these strategies, there are two programs that implement the CAP: The Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) and the Public Building’s Energy Enhancement Program.
Dr. Fricano said that the university has experienced about a 6.8 percent reduction in the carbon footprint. This was between the year 2012 to 2016.
“It is anticipated that there will be a nine percent reduction from the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program,” he said, which is quite a reduction in just five years.
“University students are a critical part of the solution,” said Fricano.
He encourages students to use the strategies that CAP has implemented to ensure that MNSU is a greener place and reduces its carbon footprint. The bicycle repair stations, the campus bus system, and filtered water stations are some of the strategies that students can use to do this.
“This is what makes CAP a success,” he said.
These strategies reduce the universities carbon footprint and everyone should partake in making the campus a greener place. It not only makes the campus a greener place, it helps the entire environment as a whole.
The only way to keep the carbon footprint down and change the environment for the better is to contribute and use these strategies. Keep in mind, there are many other ways you can reduce your own carbon footprint, including recycling, carpooling or riding the bus, reducing your water usage, and much more.