University earns Climate Leadership Award


Aki Akhauri

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment office is located in Suite 350 of the National Soybean Research Laboratory at 1101 W. Peabody St. The nonprofit organization Second Nature has recognized the University’s efforts in sustainability by presenting the Climate Leadership Award, a prize given to only two institutions each year.

By The Daily Illini staff report

The University has recently been awarded the ninth annual Climate Leadership Award by Second Nature.

Second Nature is a national nonprofit working with numerous universities and colleges to advocate for the reduction of greenhouse emissions to decrease the worst impacts of climate change.

The Climate Leadership awards committee of Second Nature recognized the University as an institution wanting change and leadership in climate issues. Only two institutions are picked for this award: a four-year institution and a two-year institution.

The awards will be announced at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit.

Evan DeLucia, Baum Family director of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment at the University and professor in LAS, said in an email the award demonstrates the University’s key position on environmental leadership and innovation.

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“We are a leader in research efforts toward providing a growing world population with its food, energy, clean water and healthy living needs while also protecting our environment,” DeLucia said. “As a premier educational institution, the U of I is preparing the next generation of employees and citizens to practice sustainability and be good environmental stewards.”

The University applied energy practices on campus to decrease the amounts being used and advanced their research in energy models. In addition, the University applied power purchase agreements and annually reducing over 17,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The expertise and dedication of the University’s Facilities and Services team should be credited as an important factor in setting up more environmentally-friendly spaces on campus, DeLucia said.

DeLucia pointed out that in an age of more environmental awareness, this award can act as a selling point for potential students and partners.

“As climate and environmental awareness increases among the future generations, being a Climate Leader gives Illinois an edge when high schoolers make their college decisions,” DeLucia said. “The award is also important to our University community as it proves that the work we have already done has made us a leader.”

As the University moves forward and continues to progress, DeLucia sees plenty of potential in the newest generation’s young environmentalists.

“I’m continuously impressed with the passion I see for the environment everyday between the faculty, staff, and students on this campus – not to mention our administration,” DeLucia said.

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