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Higher Education Must Lead on Sustainability

UC Riverside Chancellor Offers Sustainability Message to Pittsburgh for National Conference

“Sustainability is not just for environmental science majors anymore,” said Timothy P. White, one of four main speakers.

(October 10, 2011)

Timothy P. White, Chancellor of UC Riverside, spoke today at the AASHE conference in Pittsburgh.Enlarge

Timothy P. White, Chancellor of UC Riverside, spoke today at the AASHE conference in Pittsburgh.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -– UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White said today it is the university community that must lead the way to a more sustainable nation during today’s keynote speech at The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Pittsburgh.

“From community colleges and small private institutions to huge public research universities, we have a unique role in untangling the myths, developing the facts, creating solutions, and providing overall leadership to the many and complicated dimensions of sustainability,” he said, at the Daniel L. Lawrence Convention Center, which is itself an exceptionally green building.

“Because higher education provides the intellect and initiative to move this country forward, it is important that we set the standard for society to aspire to and train the intellectual community and the workforce to preserve this planet for future generations …and do battle with the causes of climate change.”

AASHE's annual three-day conference is the largest North American conference focused on sustainability in higher education. It has drawn more than 2,500 students and other participants to Pittsburgh from all 50 states and more than 10 countries. The focus of the 2011 conference is creating sustainable campuses and communities and will include community service projects for both conference attendees and Student Summit participants.

“Sustainability is not just for environmental sciences majors anymore,” White said Monday. He said sustainability can and must be infused across the curriculum. He also said solutions are local and personal, taking a new form in each home and on each campus.
At UC Riverside, students have taken the initiative by:
• Creating a community garden where students grow their own food and donate the rest to local charities.
• Launched a campaign educating students to use filtered tap water rather than bottled.
• And, in a true showing of commitment, voting to tax themselves $2.50 per quarter to finance such measures as installation of solar panels.
• One particularly enterprising group of engineering students has won an EPA grant to develop low-cost solar dryers for low-income families that could cut power usage up to 16 %.
• A local builder has committed to installing the dryer in his zero-energy housing development.

AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, is an association of colleges and universities working to create a sustainable future by providing resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research.

More information about AASHE, including membership can be found at Detailed information on the AASHE 2011 Conference & Expo can be found at Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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