Staff Council learns about the forthcoming University sustainability plan and inclusion efforts

Staff Council learns about the forthcoming University sustainability plan and inclusion efforts

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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The Staff Council is a shared governance organization that represents University Staff and Classified Staff.
The Staff Council is a shared governance organization that represents University Staff and Classified Staff.
Trevor Ledbetter, director, Office of Sustainability
Trevor Ledbetter, director, Office of Sustainability
Francisco Moreno, interim vice president and chief inclusion officer
Francisco Moreno, interim vice president and chief inclusion officer

Development of the University's first Sustainability and Climate Action Plan – which lays out a path for the institution to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 – is underway, members of the Staff Council were told at their meeting last week.

Trevor Ledbetter, director of the Office of Sustainability, and Sabrina Helm, associate professor in the John and Doris Norton School of Human Ecology, are co-chairing the committee overseeing the creation of the plan.

The University will hold a public kickoff event for the action plan on April 11 from 2-4 p.m. in the Forum in the Health Sciences Innovation Building. You can attend in person or on Zoom. Ledbetter says the committee hopes to have the plan finalized by the end of the calendar year.

"It is very much meant to be a living planning tool to help guide University decision making and to really focus in on not only how we mitigate climate change or impacts to our campus due to climate change, but also how we reduce the amount of emissions we're creating," Ledbetter told the council during it March 28 meeting.

While there has been some progress in the area, Ledbetter said, pointing to the University's clean energy agreement with Tucson Electric Power, the plan will help the University catch up with its peer institutions in sustainability efforts. He said the team developing the plan will be looking at areas including alternative energy sources, vehicle fleet electrification and promoting public transportation.

"We are also taking a very intentional approach to the equity portions of this process," Ledbetter said. "It's very difficult to have an equitable plan or a plan that moves the needle on equity in climate justice if the process itself is not equitable."

The team is working with woman-owned Cascadia Consulting Group to ensure equity is infused into every step of the process.

Look for a story with more details about the plan in in the April 19 edition of Lo Que Pasa.

Moreno calls for campuswide engagement on inclusion

Council members also heard from Francisco Moreno, interim vice president and chief inclusion officer, who said one of his top priorities is strengthening buy-in for diversity and inclusion efforts in units and departments throughout campus.

"Whenever there's a sufficient number of individuals or number of functions impacting students, we want to make sure that we have a structure that can help us weave diversity, equity and inclusion values and practices throughout the institution," Moreno said.

Moreno, who began in the interim position in December, also introduced a team of students, faculty and staff who are working with him to help identify and address the needs of the diverse campus community. The team includes: Agnes Attakai, director of health disparities outreach and prevention education for the Center for Rural Health; Jennifer Hatcher, professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Maggie Rush-Miller, operations manager for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Vaisha Nair, undergraduate student in the W.A. Franke Honors College; Aqil Sajjad, postdoctoral research associate in the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences; Theodore Tong, professor in the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy; Patricia Yango, undergraduate student in the School of Government and Public Policy; and Praise Zenenga, associate professor and head of the Department of Africana Studies.

Other topics discussed at the meeting:

  • The Recognition and Awards Committee announced that the ceremony for the Staff Awards for Excellence will be on April 25 at 3 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center.
  • Nominations for chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer will open in mid-April. Nominations will be open until the Staff Council's April meeting.

The Staff Council, a shared governance organization that represents University Staff and Classified Staff, meets via Zoom the last Tuesday of each month throughout the year. Meetings are open to all employees. The next meeting has been moved to Thursday, April 27, from 1:30-3 p.m. to avoid conflict with the Staff Awards for Excellence ceremony. Anyone who wants more information can find updates on the Staff Council website or email the council's chair, Jeffrey Jones, information technology business analyst for University Information Technology Services, at jeffreyjones@arizona.edu.

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