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Public Meetings and Engagements

Upcoming Meetings

Business & Carbon Neutrality: A Panel Discussion on Becoming a Carbon-free Campus
December 10, 2019, 7pm – Ross School of Business Robertson Auditorium

A panel discussion hosted by Net Impact on carbon neutrality and business. The panel will feature the PCCN co-chairs, Steve Forrest and Jennifer Haverkamp, as well as two internal analysis team leaders, Andy Hoffman and Joe Trumpey. The event will begin with introductory remarks from Norm Bishara, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Professor of Business Law & Ethics, Michigan Ross.

Past Meetings

Ross School (Zell-Lurie Institute) Business Pitch Competition
October 21 & 22, 2019 – University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Several PCCN affiliates served as judges for a Ross School (Zell-Lurie Institute) business pitch competition, where co-chair Haverkamp delivered the keynote on the PCCN’s work. As part of the core curriculum, all BBA juniors worked in teams to develop entrepreneurial solutions to address carbon neutrality in the areas of building standards, energy consumption, transportation, and university dining. Ross selected this year’s topic in direct response to the creation of the PCCN, and as a result, approximately 600 UM students gained practical experience in productively addressing the challenges of carbon neutrality.

Charting our University's Path to Carbon Neutrality, University of Michigan-Dearborn's Strategic Planning Thought Leader Series
October 18, 2019 – University of Michigan Dearborn campus

The PCCN Co-chairs presented to faculty, staff and students at UM-Dearborn as part of their campus strategic planning process. A similar engagement event is being planned for the UM-Flint campus. See here for the Powerpoint presentation.

PCCN Community Forum
September 25, 2019, 4:30pm EDT – UM Rackham Amphitheater and Assembly Hall. Watch Recording.

Watch Recorded Event

View the slides here.

This PCCN Community Forum has two primary purposes: 1) to update the community on PCCN progress through a presentation by and Q&A with the commission co-chairs and 2) to facilitate community engagement with Internal Analysis Team (IAT) faculty leads, who are in the early stages of shaping topic-specific research that will help inform the commission in developing its recommendations. A list of IAT topics and faculty leads is provided below.

In the pursuit of these goals, the event will consist of two parts.

Part 1 will take place in plenary in the Rackham Amphitheatre with updates provided by the Commission Co-chairs. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding commission progress and process.

Part 2 will consist of small group discussions in the Rackham Assembly Hall. This will be an opportunity for participants to share individual ideas and perspectives with the IAT faculty leads. Each IAT topic will have a designated table, where the small group discussion will begin with a brief description of the team scope and trajectory by an IAT representative. A volunteer note-taker at each table will synthesize the discussion (preferably via word document) for submission to the Commission and IATs.

A list of IAT topics and faculty leads is provided below:

Internal Analysis Teams

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 10/2/19)

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
  • Alternative energy procurement sources
Buildings and Grounds
  • Adopt stringent building standards (e.g., Passive House, Living Building, Architecture 2020)
  • Source low carbon materials for construction/renovations
  • Add living roofs or green 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, and consider how buildings can be repurposed
  • Convert to all-electric grounds equipment
  • Create an inventory of building space and scheduled construction
  • Consider what a steady state would look like in terms of UM’s footprint
  • Work quickly to determine new building standards
  • Build new buildings with sustainability measures in place so they don’t have to be retrofitted down the line
  • Regulate light pollution, limit light pollution
  • UM needs to create a ‘model’ project once the new standards are in place to show the community what a carbon neutral building could look like
  • Ensure that donor influence does not stand in the way of sustainability standards
  • Build a new carbon neutral building now, perhaps the new building in Detroit
  • All new buildings should have roof gardens
  • Plant more trees and/or a tree adoption program
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
  • Have individual schools do their own energy efficiency programs
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 and Dearborn given less resources
  • Address decentralization – it’s an impediment to making progress
  • Make carbon and sustainability reporting mandatory like DEI
  • Create a fund for small scale office sustainability projects
Transportation Fleet and Infrastructure
  • 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 the 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 conference to minimize travel
  • Help create more affordable housing in Ann Arbor
  • Lead the push for a light rail along expressway corridors (US-23, I-96, I-94)
Carbon Accounting Methodology
  • Account for scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
  • Account for electricity transmission and distribution losses
  • Account for methane leakage throughout the natural gas supply chain
  • Consider using the social cost of carbon and the $/MTCO2e
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 program
  • 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 the 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.)
  • Extend the Planet Blue Ambassadors program to UM Flint and Dearborn
  • Provide zero-waste kits to new employees and students
  • Ensure student recruitment by fossil fuel companies doesn’t unduly influence decision-making
External Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Join University Climate Change Coalition and sign President’s 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 emissions 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 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.)
  • Collaborate more with the City of Ann Arbor
  • Involve more stakeholder experts (those with experience in implementation and finance
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 education experience
  • Mandate and 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 to 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
Food
  • 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)
  • Maximize efforts to bring more vegetarian friendly restaurants to UM
  • Require all food vendors to use compostable serve ware
  • Provide UM dining chefs and catering service chefs with vegan and vegetarian cookery classes
  • University of London has removed all beef from its meals, Cambridge has cut its food-related emissions by 1/3 just by removing beef and lamb from its offerings
  • Utilize Try It Tuesdays to make plant-based dishes irresistible
  • Utilize discreet substitutes, like half plant-based and half beef burger
  • Low carbon catering options
  • Expand the student project (ranking foods by CO2 emissions) at North Quad to all dining halls
  • Host a chef/student recipe contest to engage the community
  • Utilize augmented reality and interactive media in the dining halls
  • Challenge between dining halls to see which hall reduces their meat consumption the most
Purchasing
  • Establish strict procurement requirements (incentivize low carbon purchasing)
  • Use the Transition Pathways Initiative to assess companies’ progress towards climate goals, and factor this into procurement and decision-making
  • Pursue the idea with procurement of having a list of “items” to purchase as speaker gifts and employee awards that aren’t stuff (e.g., tree planting, meals for needy, carbon offsets).
  • Buy commonly used items in bulk and have departments request them to be delivered. This would eliminate many delivery truck trips and packaging from individual shipments
  • Switch to PURPLE NITRILE and PURPLE NITRILE-XTRA Examination gloves to take advantage of the RIGHTCYCLE program
Landfill Waste
  • Expand composting and recycling
  • Mandate all events be zero waste
  • Ban all single-use/disposable materials everywhere on campus
  • Eliminate giveaway trash from external vendors inside stadium
  • Look into Sierra Energy, a company that eliminates the need for landfills through gasification
  • Partner with the city for year-round composting
  • Compost all restroom paper towels
Environmental Justice
  • Hire a dedicated environmental justice advisor to stay in line with Michigan’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion standards.
  • Each internal analysis team should have a student with a humanities/social science background to incorporate social justice
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 and 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 the expertise of known firms that have helped cities transition toward carbon neutrality
  • Publicly acknowledge the scientific basis of the PCCN's work; Convey and act with more urgency 
  • Restructure the Commission to have more full-time staff
  • Understand why the recommendations in the 2015 President's Greenhouse Gas Committee Report were not all implemented
Plan Implementation
  • Ensure President/Provost/Deans/upper management lead the way
  • Establish a Sustainability VP with broad purview
  • Establish accountable, transparent, and effective mechanisms 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 expansion
  • Divestment