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Upcoming Meetings

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Past Meetings

A Special Public Session with President Schlissel
April 9, 2019, 5pm EDT - Rackham. Watch Recording.

Watch Recorded Event

The U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality brings together the U-M community and regional partners to explore how U-M can reduce its carbon emissions to levels that are environmentally sustainable. Informed by panels of advisors, the commission will develop recommendations to achieve this goal in a fiscally responsible manner and in the context of U-M's mission of education, research, service and patient care. Join the discussion on April 9.

Town Hall Meeting 2
April 3, 2019, 4:30-6:00pm EDT - U-M Rackham Amphitheater and Assembly Hall. Watch Recording.

Watch Recorded Event


This PCCN Town Hall has two primary purposes: 1) providing community members with a common understanding of the Commission’s work, and 2) encouraging community members to share perspectives with one another and feed them back to the Commission for consideration. In pursuit of these goals, the event will consist of two parts.

Part 1 will take place in plenary in the Rackham Amphitheater with updates provided by the Commission Co-chairs. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit clarifying questions (via online form or note card) regarding the Commission’s charge, scope of activities, and planned approaches. Part 1 will be livestreamed and the video will be archived on the PCCN website.

Part 2 will consist of small group discussions in Rackham’s Assembly Hall. This is an opportunity for participants to share individual ideas and perspectives with one another, and ultimately with the Commission. The goal is to have diverse perspectives and experiences represented at each table, and this will be supported via color-coded name badges delineating PCCN representatives, students, faculty, staff, and other interested individuals (e.g., alumni, local citizens, etc.). A volunteer note-taker at each table will synthesize the discussion (preferably via word document) for submission to the Commission. Small group discussions will be guided by the following questions:

  • What are the current practices, policies, and individual behaviors on campus that are impeding U-M’s progress toward carbon neutrality?
  • What mechanisms could U-M implement to ensure all community members buy into and have personal accountability for helping achieve carbon goals?
  • What specific examples of success exist at other universities or comparable institutions that the Commission should consider as it conducts its work?
  • What creative paths might U-M pursue in partnership with the local and regional community?
  • How can the Commission most effectively communicate with and involve the community throughout this process?

*Unfortunately Closed Captioning is unavailable for this video as live streaming does not support this content.

Town Hall Meeting 1
March 11, 2019, 5:15-6:45pm EDT - U-M Rackham Amphitheater and Assembly Hall. Watch Recording.

Watch Recorded Event


This PCCN Town Hall has two primary purposes: 1) providing community members with a common understanding of the Commission’s work, and 2) encouraging community members to share perspectives with one another and feed them back to the Commission for consideration. In pursuit of these goals, the event will consist of two parts.

Part 1 will take place in plenary in the Rackham Amphitheater with updates provided by the Commission Co-chairs. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit clarifying questions (via online form or note card) regarding the Commission’s charge, scope of activities, and planned approaches. Part 1 will be livestreamed and the video will be archived on the PCCN website.

Part 2 will consist of small group discussions in Rackham’s Assembly Hall. This is an opportunity for participants to share individual ideas and perspectives with one another, and ultimately with the Commission. The goal is to have diverse perspectives and experiences represented at each table, and this will be supported via color-coded name badges delineating PCCN representatives, students, faculty, staff, and other interested individuals (e.g., alumni, local citizens, etc.). A volunteer note-taker at each table will synthesize the discussion (preferably via word document) for submission to the Commission. Small group discussions will be guided by the following questions:

  • What are the current practices, policies, and individual behaviors on campus that are impeding U-M’s progress toward carbon neutrality?
  • What mechanisms could U-M implement to ensure all community members buy into and have personal accountability for helping achieve carbon goals?
  • What specific examples of success exist at other universities or comparable institutions that the Commission should consider as it conducts its work?
  • What creative paths might U-M pursue in partnership with the local and regional community?
  • How can the Commission most effectively communicate with and involve the community throughout this process?

Public Comment Summary

The following is a summary of ideas from online comments and Town Halls (through 5/2/19)

Energy Supply
  • Source all purchased electricity from a renewable energy Purchased Power Agreement
  • Build innovative hot-water power plant (SESI at Stanford)
  • Build district or building-level geothermal system (Ball State)
  • Install solar panels on campus (e.g., on rooftops, in parking lots)
  • Generate steam sustainably (e.g., burn renewable biomass, waste digester)
  • Decrease the numbers of emergency generators on campus
  • Construct a molten salt reactor
  • Partner with city for increased buying power
  • End any future expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure
Buildings and Grounds
  • Adopt stringent building standards (e.g., Passive House, Living Building, Architecture 2030)
  • Source low carbon materials for construction/renovations
  • Add living roofs to building design
  • Design all buildings to facilitate the inevitable switch to hot-water heating
  • Stop building new buildings
  • Use carbon neutral concrete
  • More permeable surfaces
  • Use space more efficiently
  • Green roofs
  • Convert to all-electric grounds equipment
Energy Consumption
  • Mandate and convert to LEDs in all buildings
  • Mandate more stringent energy efficiency standards in all buildings
  • Establish a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency projects
  • Lengthen financial payback criteria for energy efficiency projects
  • Expand existing Energy Management team to cover all campus buildings
  • Include a system of sensors to activate and deactivate electrical current in buildings
  • Install localized building controls for heat/coolness regulation
  • Utilize existing space more efficiently
  • Commit to limiting light pollution (i.e., dark sky protocol)
  • Move to a system of centralized facility managers for all facilities to drive best practices
  • Bill units directly for electricity to create more awareness and incentive to reduce use
  • Units should be responsible for long-term maintenance and operating costs
  • Revisit emergency lighting standards
Policy and Budgetary Issues
  • Bill electricity at the unit-level and offer compensation for decreased usage
  • Establish an internal carbon tax that includes all auxiliary units
  • Subsidize Flint & Dearborn given less resources
  • Address decentralization – it’s an impediment to making progress
  • Make carbon and sustainability reporting mandatory like DE&I
Transportation Fleet and Infrastucture
  • Convert to an EV fleet
  • Install solar, storage, and fast EV charging portals
  • Incentivize bikes, electric bikes, scooters, etc
  • Provide incentives to use low-carbon fleet rentals
  • More bus routes (e.g., Commuter South should run on weekends)
  • More bike friendly campus
  • Car free zones
Commuting and Travel
  • Accessible showers to incentivize zero carbon commuting
  • Sponsor / promote Commuter Challenge and Conquer the Cold.
  • Partner with AATA on transportation hubs from neighboring communities
  • More and better public transit options
  • Incentivize low carbon commuting
  • Encourage faculty/staff to offset their commuting footprint
  • Discourage university travel when not absolutely necessary
  • Mandate faculty/staff to offset their work-related travel (travel disincentive)
  • Don’t subsidize parking
  • More and better remote parking lots with shuttles
  • Better online meeting tools to aid working remotely
  • Flex work schedules (e.g., 4 days in office, 1 at home)
  • Encourage satellite site conferences to minimize travel
  • Help create more affordable housing in Ann Arbor
Carbon Accounting Methodology
  • Account for Scope 1,2, and 3 emissions
  • Account for electricity transmission and distribution losses
  • Account for methane leakage throughout natural gas supply chain
Sequestration and Offsets
  • Eliminate/drastically reduce lawns and associated irrigation
  • Make landscapes sustainable (native plants, rain gardens, more trees, impervious surfaces)
  • Convert to no mow grass (e.g., buffalo grass) in low traffic areas
  • Start a carbon farm (Duke - peat bog)
  • Invest in forest carbon offsets
  • Plant more trees
Campus Culture
  • Mandate a sustainability orientation for all new students, faculty and staff
  • Make socially-responsible investment options available in U-M retirement plans
  • Expand investments in U-M’s campus culture and awareness programs
  • Invest in Planet Blue Ambassadors (PBA) program to facilitate individual behavior change incentives (like Stanford’s My Cardinal Green and UC-Boulder’s PIPS)
  • Integrate PBA, MHealthy, and Wolverine Wellness into one highly visible program
  • Use PBAs more deliberately & effectively as agent of change
  • Install highly visible dashboards with metrics on campus, in buildings and on UM website
  • Create a highly visible zero-carbon showpiece building
  • Power Michigan Stadium with photovoltaics
  • Run campus-wide competitions for low energy use
  • Sponsor campus-wide climate change events (theme semesters, teach-ins, etc.)
External Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Join University Climate Change Coalition and sign Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments
  • Lobby for a national carbon fee and dividend plan
  • Lobby for U.S. to establish a Climate Corps (like Peace Corps for emission reductions)
  • Lobby State for more renewable energy development and research
  • Partner with City of Ann Arbor to buy our power together
  • Join Ann Arbor 2030 District
  • Engage community via City Studios
  • Consult with Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
  • Engage boards of regional players, maybe bring them all of together for a workshop
  • Work with landlords to reduce waste, water and electricity usage
  • Collaborate with student groups including fraternities and sororities.
  • Invest in solar co-ops (big installations rather than roof by roof).
  • Conduct community outreach activities (K-12. TeachOuts, etc.)
U-M Communications
  • Ensure regular community-wide messaging from the President
  • Provide more information about sustainability initiatives on campus
  • Provide a clear historical narrative of what has happened to date
  • Get students (particularly new students) excited and engaged
  • Connect sustainability to people’s daily experiences
  • Get people to care and see the urgency of climate change
Education and Research
  • Embed in educational experience
  • Mandate a climate/sustainability class for all students at the school/college level
  • Start a carbon neutrality student investment fund
  • Use U-M as a laboratory for students to study options, costs, and benefits in terms of carbon, economics, and other environmental impacts
  • Incentivize and reward faculty to bring their sustainability research to bear on campus
  • Get students growing plants
  • Facilitate cross-learning with international students
  • More sustainability-focused study-abroad programs
  • Every department should offer/support/fund field-based sustainability work
  • More online sustainability courses
  • IPCC report should be presented to all students in discussion groups
  • Provide incentives for students t get involved in climate research
  • Develop heat pumps or geothermal heat pumps that will work in the Michigan Climate and can be scaled between single family homes, apartment buildings and University buildings.
  • Develop a safe, small scale molten salt reactor to generate power
Food and Purchasing
  • Mandate Meatless Mondays
  • Make more nutritious vegetarian options available
  • Make sustainable food sourcing goal more ambitious (e.g., 50% local , 50% reduction in meat consumption, strive for zero carbon footprint)
  • Establish strict procurement requirements (incentive low carbon purchasing)
Landfill Waste
  • Expand composting & recycling
  • Mandate all events be zero waste and
  • Ban all single-use/disposable materials everywhere on campus
  • Eliminate giveaway trash from external vendors inside stadium
PCCN Process
  • Start by committing to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 (2030)
  • Post meeting notes quickly and transparently for the public.
  • Ensure commission members go to student advisory panel meetings
  • Make information about key issues accessible to the public
  • Include all members on campus in process and decision-making
  • Learn from other committees (e.g., Labor Standards and Human Rights (Ravi Anupindi))
  • Consult with external experts (e.g., community members, industry, etc)
  • Engage Michigan Medicine & North Campus
  • Include people directly impacted by power plants
  • Host public meetings regularly
  • Report progress often
  • Respect student perspectives
  • Host more targeted Town Halls (e.g., by unit)
  • Define "financially responsible"
  • Seek expertise of known firms that have helped cities transition toward carbon neutrality
Plan Implementation
  • Ensure President/Provost/Deans/upper management lead the way
  • Establish a Sustainability VP with broad purview
  • Establish accountable, transparent, and effective mechanism for implementation
  • Include processes for re-visiting and revising previous and current actions
  • Name and empower champions in all units
  • Align policies, procedures and systems with the vision
  • Deliver education, training and action tools
  • Establish metrics and milestones and provide regular feedback
  • Reward and recognize local innovation
  • Have strong outreach where lessons learned are broadcast widely and often
  • Involve every unit/person on campus to rally our community for culture change
Outside PCCN Scope
  • Stop the power plant upgrade
  • Divestment