Getting to Green

Getting to Green

An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

April 13, 2009 - 2:34pm
I'm fried. Oronte's fried. Anybody else getting near the end of their tether? (C'mon now. 'Fess up!) What is it about April?
April 12, 2009 - 8:11pm
When the climate-change-is-hooey-and-will-kill-the-only-economy-we've-got crowd starts turning to Denmark for its authoritative sources, you know they're desperate. That's even more true of the taxes-are-evil bloviators. As regards taxes, the Danes pay some of the highest rates in the world. They're not complaining, perhaps because they get good value in return for their money. (Hmmm ... getting good value is more important than whether your outlay is "taxes" or "consumption". How radical!)
April 8, 2009 - 9:21pm
Greenback U. has lots of administrative information systems. It used to have more -- before last decade's ERP implementation -- but it still has quite a number. Energy management systems. Student information systems. Building access systems. Employee information systems. Library information systems. Space management systems. Parking management systems. The list goes on.
April 6, 2009 - 8:57pm
I was speaking recently with the dean of faculty at a small US polytechnic. Toward the end of the conversation, he mentioned that he was planning on giving up his job sometime next year. I asked why, knowing that (1) his hardest battles were now behind him, and (2) he couldn't yet afford to retire -- certainly not given current financial market conditions. His answer: "Well, I've been there about 15 years. When you've been in the same spot for fifteen years, it's time to move on."
April 3, 2009 - 3:14pm
The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (or "PCC") has been around for a couple of years now. Over 600 schools have signed on, and many of those have completed and filed their initial (baseline) greenhouse gas inventories. Completing a GHG inventory is the major deliverable due one year after a school signs the PCC.
April 2, 2009 - 10:19pm
I was on a campus recently, not too far from where I live. (One of the advantages of being in the northeast is that there are lots of colleges and universities nearby.) I had been on the same campus before, but this time I was looking at some of the academic space with not a parent's eye nor a student's eye, but with a sustainability administrator's eye. It was beautiful, in a kind of pre-first-Great-Depression institutional way. But it was too tall.
April 1, 2009 - 6:18pm
While I was learning about the workings of colleges and universities, I ran into Harvard's management model, which was described with the phrase "each tub on its own bottom". What was explained to me is a system in which, within limits, each school or college is treated as a business unit and is responsible for its own financial well-being. The university, thus, operates almost as a holding company or loose-knit conglomerate.
March 29, 2009 - 6:49pm
My previous post was perhaps not worse than a crime, but it was definitely a blunder. To go 0-for-2 in terms of mathematical logic in a post which excoriates other folks for not understanding mathematical logic, well ... some days, it just doesn't pay getting out of bed in the morning. Looking back, though, I can see how I got to "should have stood in bed" status.
March 26, 2009 - 4:52pm
I'll admit to being a little bit anal when it comes to math. I'm not sure "anal" is the right word, but I do expect numbers to make sense and people who can't make sense of numbers to stay as far away from them as possible. So, I want to squeeze in one last "the press is so stupid" post before the month is through.
March 25, 2009 - 5:52pm
I was in a grocery store checkout line last week. The woman in line ahead of me had two children with her: a small baby and a girl about three years old. As I started unloading my cart, I heard the three-year-old informing the cashier, quietly but firmly, that she was not a princess. I was, of course, immediately impressed with the kid's firm grasp on reality. (On the other hand, three-year-olds can be very literal-minded.)

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