Towards regenerative development: A methodology for university campuses to become more sustainable, with a focus on the University of South Florida
Author(s): Richard K. McDonald III
Program Name: Master's degree in Environmental Science and Policy
Institution: Universtiy of South Florida, Tampa
Environmental Studies and Sciences
Coordination and Planning
Publication Date: April, 2008
Paper Type: Masters Thesis
The administrations of several universities have developed strategies to reduce the negative environmental effects created by their institutions. Because no single, comprehensive methodology to guide institutions to sustainability exists, these strategies range widely in scope. As well, the definition of “sustainability” differs for these various institutions, resulting in strategies ranging from small-scale recycling programs to major initiatives to incorporate green building and revamping curricula. This study attempts to create the first comprehensive methodology to guide university campuses and processes to become regenerative. Regenerative systems “produce more resources than needed, provide resources for other projects, and enhance [the] environment” (Bernheim 2003), and are synonymous with the “triple top line” of sustainability presented by Braungart and McDonough (2002).
Sustainability plans of other universities were reviewed to determine what strategies have been successful for these institutions. These data were synthesized to create the comprehensive methodology. The methodology is incremental to allow time for institutions to adjust their financial plans and facilities management practices. Subsequently, the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus (USF) served as a case study. Buildings and other infrastructure were reviewed, as were the curricula, buying practices, food service, and other university processes. Finally, a survey was presented to the primary decision-makers for USF to identify obstacles to implementation of the sustainability methodology. Recommendations for overcoming these obstacles were then devised, incorporating solutions developed at other institutions as well as novel ideas.
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