Planning + Progress

The greening of the University of Florida began in 1990 when President Lombardi signed the Talloires Declaration, pledging to make environmental education and research a central goal in this institution. After more than a decade of student, faculty, and administrative commitment to sustainability on campus, The University of Florida (UF) inaugurated its first fully funded Office of Sustainability on February 1, 2006.

The university’s ad hoc sustainability task force officially evolved into a joint standing committee of the faculty senate on August 15, 2006. The President of the university created and funded the office following resolutions from both the faculty and student senates.

History and Milestones

  • 1994: UF joined 310 universities world-wide in signing the Talloires Declaration, pledging support to reduce environmental degradation and natural resource depletion.
  • 1997: The Greening UF program was initiated as a grassroots movement of students, faculty and staff from across the campus for environmental stewardship.
  • 2000: An Office of Sustainability was established within the College of Design, Construction and Planning to facilitate, among other things, sustainability initiatives on campus.
  • 2001: UF adopted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria for design and construction for all major new construction and renovation projects to deliver high performance and sustainable building design to the University of Florida, and a Sustainability Task Force was created jointly by the President and Faculty Senate, following a Faculty Senate proposal of December 2000.
  • 2002: The Task Force released its Final Report and the Faculty Senate endorsed it.
  • 2004: A Student Senate Resolution (#1041) urged the creation of a university office of sustainability with “full administrative support.” An ad-hoc Sustainability Committee was established through appointments from the Faculty Senate and President Machen.
  • 2005: President Machen gave a speech on National Campus Sustainability day setting goals for campus sustainability and pledging to deliver an annual report card on the university’s efforts. The search for a Director of a new Office of Sustainability, housed under the Office of Business Affairs, began.
  • 2006: President Machen signs the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, and hires a Director of the Office of Sustainability, while numerous other task forces take shape. A Zero Waste Task Force begins meeting to plan for more comprehensive recycling and cradle-to-cradle efforts, and an Energy & Climate Change Task Force assembles to enhance reduction of greenhouse gases and other initiatives. UF hosts first Florida Campus & Community Sustainability conference at which President Machen gives his first speech on the university’s efforts.
  • 2007: UF hosts National Campus Sustainability Day at which President Machen gives his first annual “report card” on the state of sustainability at UF. The UF Green Team network is established and a second staff is hired.
  • 2008: UF hosts its first annual One Less Car challenge. The strategic vision, Vision for a Sustainable UF is published.
  • 2009: The office launches a new energy efficiency campaign, Chomp Down on Energy. Implementation plans to accompany the Vision’s guiding principles are drafted.
  • 2010: The office hosts the Florida Food Summit in April, bringing stakeholders from around UF and the state to discuss food systems issues and opportunities. The first rooftop solar panels are installed on campus on the Florida Museum of Natural History. Third staff hired.
  • 2011: University’s first Zero Waste coordinator hired. Office launches a departmental bike pilot program and a conservation area adoption program for campus: Adopt-A-“Swamp.” In the fall, all dining services on campus become styrofoam free, and the office publishes a five-year report, Reaching the Vision.
  • 2013: Housing begins installing bike repair stations in an effort to increase bicycle use on campus and reduce the number of abandoned bikes. Surplus revenue from resell and recycling exceeds $256,900, and value of avoided purchases through on-campus reuse is estimated to be more than $2 million. 2013 also marks the first full season home football game compost collection, which takes place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for every home game. By the last home game of the 2013 season, the rate of recycling/composting inside the stadium reached 78%.
  • 2014: The J. Wayne Reitz Union begins collecting pre-consumer food waste for compost. UF’s two dining halls – Gator Corner & Fresh Food Co. – begin collecting pre- and post-consumer food waste for compost.
  • 2015: The Office of Sustainability hosts the first-ever Earth Month in April, bringing awareness to topics ranging from water conservation to waste reduction. Dr. Charlie Lane outlines five ways that UF can improve its sustainability efforts over the coming year, including an increase in electric vehicles on campus and a reduction in junk mail.

UF Presidential Earth Day Speeches


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