Final Recommendations

Our six working groups and two technical teams worked hard throughout the Fall 2023 semester to develop initial recommendations that have been further refined into the final recommendations below.

We are currently working to prioritize these final recommendations for incorporation into the deliverables for our Sustainability & Climate Action Plan! At that point, our final recommendations will transition into initiatives for the University to act upon.

We'll be sharing more information on the Action Plan in Feburary and March!

Questions or see gaps you think we should address? Email us at

Air, Climate, & Energy

Global climate change is having myriad negative impacts throughout the world, including increased frequency and potency of extreme weather events, sea level rise, species extinction, water shortages, declining agricultural production, and spread of diseases. The impacts are particularly pronounced for low-income communities and countries. Reducing energy consumption through conservation and efficiency, and switching to cleaner and renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and low-impact hydropower will be important solutions. For most institutions, energy consumption is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global climate change.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 26

The University of Arizona should pursue an on-site solar power purchase agreement (or similar agreement) to install 4,800 kWAC or 4.80 MWAC of solar on main campus.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 1.3

Existing buildings will need a pathway to eliminate or significantly limit the need for steam. This will dramatically improve building efficiency and unlock a suite of highly efficient district energy technologies.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 2.1

Transition campus district energy supply assets towards highly efficient heat-pump technologies, gaining new flexibility through thermal storage.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 2.2

Renew aging campus steam infrastructure by connecting buildings to a new low temperature hot water distribution network.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 2.3

Evolve central plant operations to phase out baseload combustion as the broader utility context changes to reward flexibility and resiliency.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 3.1

Maximize the potential for onsite solar paired with behind-the-meter battery storage to provide energy, capacity, and additional control for campus electrical systems.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 3.2

Evolve the existing offsite renewable electricity contract with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to access additional renewable electricity at scale.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 3.3

Use closed-loop heating/cooling wells and the earth's ambient temperature as an efficient alternative to combustion and evaporation.


Buildings are generally the largest user of energy and the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on campuses, and the recommendation of this topical area seek to improve the sustainability performance of the University's buildings. Buildings also use significant amounts of potable water. Institutions can design, build, and maintain buildings in ways that provide a safe and healthy indoor environment for inhabitants while simultaneously mitigating the building’s impact on the outdoor environment.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 2

Conduct post-occupancy surveys for spaces such as offices and labs to assess their utilization and identify needs. This analysis aims to refine space allocation by involving the community in the process and addressing specific demands, allowing community members to select from various options tailored to their needs while ensuring clear usage expectations are defined.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 3

Incorporate a Social Responsibility Checklist into UArizona's construction process, encompassing design, planning, construction, and post-occupancy evaluation. This checklist, inspired by LEED Social Equity principles, focuses on promoting local employment, community engagement, addressing social and economic issues, and ensuring that projects are culturally inclusive and responsive to surrounding communities. The checklist aims to enhance the social impact of UArizona projects throughout their lifecycle.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 1.1

Expand and accelerate the University's energy efficiency efforts to minimize energy demand, improve comfort and performance, gain visibility and control, and align with deferred maintenance/capital renewal needs.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 1.2

As the University's infrastructure paradigm shifts, standards should be updated to ensure projects move campus systems toward a decarbonized future.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 5.1

The University should add a decarbonization lens when prioritizing capital expenditures to capture overlapping opportunities embedded in deferred maintenance and other capital renewal projects. The University's strategic decision-making should be supported with life-cycle modeling, a social cost of carbon, and other long-range planning tools/techniques.

Campus Engagement

This topical area addresses sustainability learning experiences for students outside the formal curriculum. Institution-sponsored, co-curricular sustainability offerings help integrate sustainability into the campus culture. This area includes employee engagement, training, and development programs in sustainability. Equipping employees with the tools, knowledge, and motivation to adopt behavior changes that promote sustainability help them to model sustainable behavior for students and the rest of the campus community.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 6

We recommend creating space to share and celebrate achievements in sustainability and climate education. The proposal has two components: (1) Create an annual award in sustainability and climate education to celebrate UArizona successes and innovations and (2) Leverage existing channels of communication to share sustainability and climate education pedagogy and success stories.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 7

Host campus outreach events to promote a culture of sustainability and educate individuals about simple ways to reduce their carbon footprint, such as providing a list of ways to reduce emissions. Spread climate literacy through active engagement and passive methods with student organizations, along with establishing a dedicated sustainability budget within ASUA for eco-friendly event materials and initiatives.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 9

Strengthen and expand upon current sustainability initiatives like Compost Cats, Students for Sustainability, and Housing & Residential Life's Eco-Reps, focusing on community engagement and experiential learning. Emphasize the study of the local community, promote local businesses and growers, and encourage hands-on, community-based projects that reduce the carbon footprint and provide students with practical, real-world experiences.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 2

Enhance and in some places develop and implement dorm programming around waste reduction, including education and collection opportunities before residents arrive, during move-in, throughout the school year, and during move-out. Increase educational opportunities and staffing to minimize durable goods and electronic waste created during dorm living.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 3

Enhance and improve the Eco-Reps program by transitioning it to a paid position and increasing its reach and connectivity.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 4

Guest and Conference Services will ensure that orientation for all groups will include a brief and instructive section on commitment to sustainability and how guests can learn about what they can and can’t recycle on campus, where to bring their recycling and landfill waste, and how they can help us become a more sustainable campus. People who stay on campus as guests during summer will either stay in dorms for 3, 7, 30, or 72 days. Regardless of why they are staying on our campus, they should walk away with the message that their participation in sustainability matters and that the University of Arizona is actively trying to minimize waste and cut down on energy and water use.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 7

Develop an inclusive survey open to campus visitors, residents, and the workforce to gather feedback and suggestions on campus sustainability initiatives. Utilize diverse outreach methods to promote the survey, fostering engagement and serving as an evaluation tool for the plan post-implementation.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 8

Integrate a set of mandatory sustainability criteria into the guidelines or bylaws of key campus activities, including Greek Life, Clubs and Organizations, Cultural and Resource Centers, Club Sports, and Summer Camps. Regularly review and update these guidelines, provide educational support to organizations, encourage collaboration, and consider recognition or incentives for outstanding sustainability efforts.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 9

Introduce the Sustainability Workshop Series, a monthly virtual event aimed at educating UA students, employees, and community members in sustainable practices and their role in achieving carbon neutrality. These live webinars, featuring experts, will enhance campus Sustainability Literacy and address practical methods to reduce waste, lower carbon emissions, and conserve water, with recordings available on the Office of Sustainability's YouTube channel.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 10

Integrate a Sustainable Events Guide into applicable forms and processes, encompassing features such as a list of sustainable vendors, options to request Compost Cats, and sustainability information tables staffed by volunteers. Encourage or mandate Green Event Certification for campus events, with badges to showcase compliance, targeting various activities including sports events, AUSA activities, and more.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 12

Offer free permits and prime spaces for permit holders who carpool. Parking permit costs and availability currently treat employees and students similarly. However, the University has the most influence over the behaviors of the workforce and therefore this recommendation includes not only revision to the permitting policies to incentivize carpooling overall among regular commuters (staff, faculty, students) but also the recommendation of a campaign and leadership efforts to incentivize an increase in carpooling among the workforce as the primary measure of the effort’s success .

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 13

Develop an annual mandatory training module in Edge Learning for the workforce, addressing climate change's impact on Tucson, the university's mission, updates on the climate initiative, promoting inter-employee support, and outlining individual actions to support the climate initiative.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 14

Implement a university-wide initiative mandating climate change support groups within each department, comprised of department members, tasked with developing department-specific climate action plans aligned with their missions. These actions will be submitted to the Office of Sustainability for publication on their website.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 17

Strengthen the sustainability knowledge and practices among University of Arizona students, employees, and visitors by integrating learning opportunities, mutual support, and incentives into key interactions and experiences. A culture of engagement for improving campus sustainability designed with our community's needs and customs in mind will be inclusive, accessible, and impactful. The goal of this initiative is to build and fund eco-anxiety resources for students in group settings.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 15

Encourage leaders to develop and adopt guidelines that provide opportunities and flexibility for remote work options where feasible, incorporate environmental benefits into the existing hybrid/remote work policies, and encourage units within the university to utilize the hybrid/remote option.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 16

Integrate learning opportunities, mutual support, and incentives into key interactions and experiences. Our vision is to build a relationship with the management of off-campus housing units and, through education, develop a uniform program of sustainability education and practices that will align with the programs currently being developed for on-campus housing. The expected result is that housing at the University lessens its impact in all areas through waste reduction as residents become more educated and willing to collaborate to drastically reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 17

The Green Office Certification Program is a program designed to both educate and provide resources to encourage offices and campus groups to reach their own and the University’s overarching sustainability goals. It is designed to engage and recognize faculty and staff members who are interested in minimizing their emissions and improving their environmental footprint. Offices will be certified as a “Green Office” on a tier-level-based system. This system can consist of a variety of categories, but baseline categories include “Bronze”, “Silver”, and “Gold” levels of certification.

Coordination & Planning

This topical area is associated with institutionalizing sustainability by dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, developing plans to move toward sustainability, and engaging stakeholders in governance.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 15

Conduct regularly scheduled vulnerability and risk assessments of the UArizona research enterprise and the broader campus community to identify strategies that can keep the UArizona research enterprise and educational systems functioning in the face of climate-related risks and shocks.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 5.3

There have never been more federal and private dollars available for renewable energy and decarbonization projects. Given the scale of capital needs, the University will need to leverage all available sources.


This topical area includes recommendations for formal education programs and courses that address sustainability in order to equip students to lead society to a sustainable future.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 1

Create and implement a meaningful and measurable ILO that can then be aligned by degree-granting departments so that each department can decide how to meet the outcome based on its own mission, curriculum, and program needs.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 2

Establish a University-wide Academic Committee on Climate Change and Sustainability Education, housed in the Provost’s Office, which would be responsible for developing and implementing processes for encouraging all academic units to identify ways that their programs can or do contribute to climate change and sustainability education and develop plans for how climate change education can be better incorporated into their curricula. contribute to educating about climate change and then develop a plan for how climate change education can be better incorporated into their curricula.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 3

Develop professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff to enhance their teaching of climate change using an approach based on ethics of care and pedagogies of hope. These opportunities may include Edge courses, faculty learning communities, workshops, and multimedia campaigns, aiming to improve pedagogical practices and foster collaboration and innovation in climate change education.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 4

Update the General Education Curriculum to incorporate climate change and environmental justice, suggesting the inclusion of these topics in UNIV 101 and 301, as well as adding a requirement for a climate and environmental justice emphasis in Exploring Perspectives or Building Connections General Education courses.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 8

Promote sustainability literacy across the campus by diversifying teaching methods and materials, such as incorporating art and storytelling, and collaborate with faculty to integrate these alternatives into courses. These approaches aim to enrich the educational experience, with activities like video reflections and community engagement projects that align with learning outcomes.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 10

To encourage increased and sustained use of virtual and hybrid environments where possible and as an alternative or augmentation to in-person events. We propose the use of virtual and hybrid environments as a sustainable practice that can be used in a variety of engagement settings

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 11

Significantly reducing carbon emissions from both commuting/travel and instructional facilities use by adapting the traditional academic calendar without negatively impacting our students’ quality of education and overall campus experience.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 12

Develop programs and practices to encourage mindful use of paper across UArizona and promote the use of digital materials rather than paper textbooks, exams, and other paper materials.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 14

Analyze UArizona's course meeting schedules to pinpoint opportunities for reducing commuting to campus through adjustments. This analysis will involve surveys, interviews, and focus groups with students, faculty, and advisors to explore potential changes that can minimize the need for daily travel to the university. 

Diversity & Affordability

In order to build a sustainable society, diverse groups will need to be able to come together and work collaboratively to address sustainability challenges. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups and immigrant, indigenous and low-income communities tend to suffer disproportionate exposure to environmental problems. This environmental injustice happens as a result of unequal and segregated or isolated communities. To achieve environmental and social justice, society must work to address discrimination and promote equality.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 1

Ensure that the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan's recommendations accommodate individual limitations and various capabilities, acknowledging that behavior change is a diverse journey. Plan with the expectation of a range of outcomes and ensure that the goals and plan consider these realities, avoiding negative impacts or punitive measures for those unable to fully comply with the recommendations.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 4

For the Action Plan to build community and be data-driven it must engage in consistent dialogue about the intersection of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The initially developed comprehensive plan on equity and inclusion must be expanded to the implementation phases of the Action Plan and engage in consistent dialogue about the intersection of equity, inclusion, and sustainability. To do so it must commit to elevate diverse voices and provide ample opportunities for input through direct outreach. Specifically, the Action plan must identify on-campus populations by gathering quantitative and qualitative data beyond general surveys to actively engage and elevate underrepresented voices during the implementation phases of the Action Plan .

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 12

The University of Arizona should officially designate one or more spaces on main campus as cooling centers for use by the general public that can be accessed for extended periods of time during regular business hours from May to September. These spaces should provide ready access to water as well.

Food & Dining

This topical area relates to the institutional support of sustainable food systems. These actions help reduce environmental impacts and support fair and resilient food systems.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 4

Incentivize and support food and beverage purchasing that is less environmentally and socially detrimental across multiple dimensions such as greenhouse gas emissions, water and land usage, nitrate and other pollutants, biodiversity impacts, and unfair labor practices.


This topical area is for recommendations that plan and maintain the University's grounds with sustainability in mind. Beautiful and welcoming campus grounds can be planned, planted, and maintained in any region while minimizing the use of toxic chemicals, protecting wildlife habitat, and conserving resources.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 3

Use the campus landscape to mitigate stormwater by infiltrating the majority of rain events within green infrastructure designs. Set formal goals for storm event mitigation, transforming hardscapes into permeable surfaces, and modify stormwater runoff patterns to increase water filtration through innovative techniques.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 4

Optimize vegetation choices on campus by prioritizing native or regionally adapted plants that thrive on harvested rainwater and provide shade and other urban desert-appropriate benefits. Increase the planting of native edible plants, use the campus as a testing ground for innovative irrigation methods, develop infrastructure for stormwater capture, and replace high-water-use turf with xeric plantings while integrating passive water harvesting techniques.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 5

Develop rooftop water harvesting on a district level for collecting water from multiple buildings and site ground-level surfaces to store, filter, and use it in the campus irrigation system and to offset water used in utility and building operations. Collecting and utilizing rooftop water from multiple buildings is more cost-effective and efficient than single-building systems (i.e. CAPLA, ENR2). Identify new developments and existing districts where this would be feasible.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 6

Revise and modernize key sections of the Design & Specification Standards to align with the latest integrated design principles for multi-benefit green infrastructure landscapes, which may involve updating existing sections, adding new ones, or reorganizing the content. These updated sections encompass Stormwater Drainage, Water Harvesting, Irrigation, and Landscape practices.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 7

Develop a comprehensive Green Infrastructure Master Plan that incorporates updated hydrology analyses from the University of Arizona Surface Water Master Plan (2009). This new plan will not only address stormwater flooding impacts but also maximize the utilization of rainwater from non-flooding events across campus.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 8

Implement shading techniques to mitigate the urban heat island effect on campus, such as increasing the number of shade trees, focusing on south-facing walls, and utilizing climate-adapted trees. Additionally, promote the use of green roofs and cool-roof technology in building design to reduce temperatures and energy consumption.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 27

Address environmental concerns and significantly reduce our carbon footprint by transitioning from gas-powered to battery-powered landscaping tools. Simultaneously, we seek to minimize or eliminate the use of leaf blowers to uphold air quality standards and foster a healthier environment.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 28

This recommendation proposes the creation and implementation of a comprehensive Integrated Landscape Management Policy at the University of Arizona. This initiative aims to champion the conservation and sustenance of pollinator populations while minimizing environmental impacts associated with traditional pest and weed management practices that tend to over-rely on toxic chemicals and inputs.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 29

With responsive scheduling systems, irrigation use will be more water efficient and only used when needed. Integration of moisture monitoring systems with UArizona irrigation models will allow for the expansion of sustainable water use practices.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 4.3

Transition landscaping equipment away from gas-powered models towards battery-powered models as viable options become available.

Innovation & Leadership

This category recognizes innovative solutions to sustainability challenges and demonstrating sustainability leadership in ways that are not otherwise captured in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 6

Establish a committee to oversee carbon pricing decisions with a focus on equity. Consider a higher carbon proxy price to address future climate challenges and review pricing strategies regularly. Implement a flight surcharge with flexible contribution options and establish a university fund for climate projects, ensuring transparency. Promote flexible work arrangements for staff and faculty to reduce carbon emissions and enhance equity, supported by lessons from reduced commuting during the pandemic.

Investment & Finance

By using the tools of sustainable investing, institutions can improve the long-term health of their endowments, encourage better corporate behavior, support innovation in sustainable products and services, support sustainability in their community, and help build a more just and sustainable financial system.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 1

Move the University's investments away from fossil fuels and towards climate-conscious practices, ceasing direct fossil fuel investments by 2030.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 2

Establish new positions and join international investment partnerships to maintain transparency and adherence with updated ESG investment policy by adding a new Investment Committee member to the UArizona Investment Committee from the Office of Sustainability, or another member of the University community who has expertise in ESG investment.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 3

Appoint a working group tasked with developing a community-engaged policy on soliciting and/or accepting donor support from individuals, corporations, organizations, etc. heavily invested in fossil fuel production/distribution.

Public Engagement

Engagement in community problem-solving is fundamental to sustainability. By engaging with community members and organizations in the governmental, nonprofit and for-profit sectors, the University can help solve sustainability challenges.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 5

This recommendation proposes promoting and facilitating better sustainability/waste management practices by campus visitors with a focus on campus-wide signage. This will include a new marketing campaign needed to create the messaging and graphic design elements as well as the implementation of existing digital signage infrastructure and potentially creating new physical signage to match the campaign.

Working Group: Campus Culture & Engagement

Recommendation #CCE 6

Establish a Sustainability Ambassadors Program to ensure the greatest participation in and understanding of the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. Ambassadors will be paid representatives, under the direction of the Office of Sustainability and any other campus leaders responsible for the success of the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan and should be comprised of individuals who represent UArizona’s diverse array of audiences.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 5.2

The University's energy transition will require more than a decade of significant infrastructure planning, design, and construction. The University can develop a workforce to decarbonize the university, the city of Tucson, and the surrounding region. Partners should include Pima Community College and others.


Collectively, institutions spend many billions of dollars on goods and services annually. Each purchasing decision represents an opportunity for institutions to choose environmentally and socially preferable products and services and support companies with strong commitments to sustainability.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 10

Building on the existing policy and expanding it across all university departments. By establishing a clear and standardized framework for environmentally and socially responsible procurement practices, we aim to contribute significantly to our broader net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2040, as outlined in the University's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 11

To align the University with shared campus values, the University of Arizona should completely eliminate the use of prison labor in our purchasing supply chain by 2026. To do this, the University should update official Purchasing Policies with clear language that prohibits all purchasing from vendors that use prison labor to manufacture items.


Conducting research is a major function of many colleges and universities. By researching sustainability issues and refining theories and concepts, higher education institutions can continue to help the world understand sustainability challenges and develop new technologies, strategies, and approaches to address those challenges.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 1

Enhance the monitoring and evaluation of the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan by regularly quantifying water, energy, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions data at the building level. By institutionalizing this data collection and making it accessible to the community, the university aims to foster awareness, community engagement, and research opportunities while advancing its sustainability goals.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 2

Enhance the monitoring and evaluation of the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan by regularly quantifying water, energy, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions data through innovative, bottom-up approaches, including competitions and small seed funding to encourage active participation from the university community. This initiative promotes citizen science engagement, drives behavioral change, and fosters research innovation, differentiating UA's Climate Action Plan from others.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 4

Promote interdisciplinary climate research by leading proposal submissions that integrate natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities to address various aspects of climate change, including understanding it, preparing for its impacts, and conducting vulnerability assessments

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 6

Establish a coordinated approach to secure funding for climate and sustainability research, involving the development of new funding sources, optimization of existing funding opportunities, and engagement with external partners.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 8

Promote community resilience by enhancing collaborations between the university's research community and external organizations. Emphasize transdisciplinary research on climate-related topics, including mitigation, adaptation, communication, resilience, and environmental justice, with the aim of becoming a climate research hub that partners with community organizations and external entities to address climate impacts and risks.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 10

By 2028, Facilities Management should inventory fume hoods across campus and replace or update existing lab fume hoods to ensure they meet a minimum standard of energy efficiency, have the ability to turn off where appropriate for safety, invest in energy-saving functions like variable air volume (VAV), and emphasize/provide significant resources and authority to assist in a behavioral change campaign to require lab users to close the hood sash when not in use.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 14

Promote resource conservation in on-campus labs through a university-wide Sustainable Lab Challenge or My Green Lab Certification program, emphasizing standards, education, and community-building. Focus on reducing water usage, waste generation, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 5

Promote diversity and inclusion within research teams through inclusive recruitment practices, mentorship programs, and community engagement. Support with activities such as diversity training, mechanisms to address discrimination and bias, and capacity-building for community partners, fostering an inclusive and equitable research environment.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 7

Establish ethical practices for climate change and sustainability research that uphold equity and justice principles. Promote equitable research funding allocation for climate change and sustainability research to address current disparities and support projects focused on equity and justice.

Working Group: Equity & Justice

Recommendation #EJ 8

Decarbonize research professional practice by providing faculty with opportunities for career success while reducing the carbon emissions resulting from research-related activities in an equitable manner; raising awareness for and reducing the negative environmental impacts of research.


Recommendations for this topical area seek to move the University toward sustainable transportation systems.

Working Group: Academics

Recommendation #AC 5

Implement a mandatory carbon offset program aimed at achieving carbon neutrality in Study Abroad. This initiative also serves to raise awareness among students and faculty regarding the environmental and social impacts of overseas study experiences.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 1

The University should target an 85% reduction in Main Campus fleet vehicle emissions by 2035 based on the FY2015 GHG levels as a baseline. The remaining 15% of emissions may be possible to eliminate by 2040 or may need to be offset. This would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to approximately 365 MTCDE annually.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 2

Reduce emissions associated with commuting to campus, by not building additional parking spaces, conducting annual transportation demand surveys, exploring a policy to restrict first-year students living in dorms from bringing cars, and implementing permit sale restrictions based on proximity to campus. These measures aim to promote alternative transportation options and decrease reliance on single-occupancy vehicles.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 9

Continue to invest in and expand the free campus shuttle system to reach additional campus community members. Enhance current Cat Tran routes with shelters, benches, and route information. Extend current off-campus routes to services other university services, park-and-ride lots, and student housing. Ensure at least one route services a grocery store to increase access to fresh and affordable food for students living on campus.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 10

Update the University’s Design & Specification Standards to require new buildings and major renovations of buildings to include different types of bicycle commuter infrastructure to make it more convenient for commuters to bike to campus for their daily commute. Also, build internal bike storage that is accessible via CatCard.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 12

Many interior campus roads should be closed to vehicle use to promote safer and more efficient car-free travel. Streets on campus should be evaluated and a road closure plan should be developed to promote multimodal circulation on campus. The closure of some off-campus streets should also be considered, including the closure sections of Park Avenue and University Boulevard.

Working Group: Responsible Sourcing & Investment

Recommendation #RSI 9

Provide the workforce with opportunities for career success and engaging work activities while reducing the carbon emissions resulting from air travel in an equitable manner; raising awareness for and reducing the negative environmental impacts of travel.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 4.1

Proactively plan for the coming wave of electric vehicles by aligning charging infrastructure with other electric infrastructure projects.

Working Group: Decarbonization

Recommendation #Decarb 4.2

Transition the campus fleet away from internal combustion engines as vehicles reach their end of useful life and low-/no-emission vehicles become cost-competitive on a total-cost-of-ownership basis.


Recommendations for this topical area seek to move the University toward zero waste by reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 5

Establish a centralized chemical inventory system that catalogs and tracks chemicals used in research, designating storage hubs for surplus or incoming chemicals to prevent waste and duplicate orders.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 12

Collaborate with Facilities Management Recycling & Waste Management, Risk Management Services Hazardous Waste, and Research Laboratory & Safety Services Radioactive Waste to assess and document the volume and types of plastic waste, chemical waste, radiologically-contaminated chemical waste, and recycled materials by department, building, and campus.

Working Group: Research

Recommendation #RE 13

This recommendation focuses on reducing the waste generated by the university research community by utilizing different approaches to divert laboratory items to be repurposed into other items instead of going into the landfill. By 2027, the University should procure all on-campus lab and research supplies from vendors that either take back used supplies or are directly recyclable through UArizona recycling programs.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 14

The University could increase waste diversion rates and create a more sustainable waste management system by standardizing waste management practices across campus. Standardization efforts should include creating and enforcing waste bin appearance guidelines, educational signage standardization near all bins, creating university-wide custodial trainings, implementing a new zero waste training for all students at orientation, and standardizing waste contracting language.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 16

Current composting infrastructure and operations should be expanded so that the University can increase waste diversion to compost by 50% in 5 years, and divert 90% of compostable waste by 2040. This would require that post-consumer composting is available in all buildings by 2040, including educational spaces, dorms, office kitchens, etc.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 17

The existing Surplus Property Program should be expanded to be more easily accessible, while restructuring to be student-facing. Central collection locations should be established for Hard-to-Recycle Materials, including electronic waste, and a new student-facing thrift store should be opened on campus to encourage material reuse.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 18

Switch to a landfill site that has the infrastructure to recover greenhouse gas emissions from waste, which would lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 19

Develop a Zero Waste Action Plan with the goal of reducing solid waste tonnage by 50% per campus user from 2022 standards by 2040 and achieving a 75% diversion rate of waste away from the landfill by 2040. This Action Plan should include an analysis of current waste practices on campus and recommendations for how the University can reduce waste production to move toward Zero Waste.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 20

Waste data and auditing should be a regular practice at the University of Arizona, and should be expanded to capture waste data at the building level. By expanding and standardizing auditing practices, the University can identify areas of campus where improvements should be focused.


These recommendations will help the University with conserving water, making efforts to protect water quality and treating water as a resource rather than a waste product.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 22

Build a wastewater treatment plant on campus to treat wastewater from across campus. Water would be treated to be used in campus cooling towers, toilets, landscaping, and any other non-potable water applications. Treated water could replace the need for freshwater, bringing us closer to becoming a Net Zero Water Campus.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 23

Hire a Water Manager within Facilities Management to implement water conservation tactics and to support more robust water use data collection. Build on existing governmental relations with regional water partners to identify common water conservation goals. These partnerships could lead to new funding sources for large-scale projects, like building a water treatment plant on campus.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 24

Update internal Design Standards and Specifications to require lower water use intensity within all major renovations and new builds. A variety of water sources should be used in the building to reduce the demand for fresh water, like using reclaimed/treated waste water in toilets and urinals instead of fresh water.

Working Group: Built Environment

Recommendation #BE 21

The University should adopt a One Water framework, in alignment with the City of Tucson, for managing water resources, emphasizing long-term resilience and sustainability. This approach involves integrating various water sources, such as rain and stormwater, and implementing measures like infrastructure upgrades and green initiatives, outlined in a detailed technical report. The goal is to create a circular water loop, and achieving this could position the University to become a net zero water campus.