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Celebrating Stories

The collection of stories below is organized into two curated sets. 

The first set -- delineated in black -- is written by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with the SustainableUMD network. Each story includes interactive elements for you to explore. Feature stories highlight multi-year collaborative projects and aim to visually explore the resulting improvements and opportunities for a more resilient and sustainable campus. Other stories highlight specific departments and people who lead, collaborate and complete the necessary, ongoing work that drives UMD’s progress in sustainability.

The second set -- delineated in white -- compiles sustainability-related articles from the Office of Strategic Communications news source Maryland Today.

Current Stories from SustainableUMD

Dr. Pines and Testudo
A Year in Review: 2020-2021

The University continues to strive for excellence in climate action, aiming to achieve the visions embodied in campus, community, and global sustainability goals. The 2020 calendar year highlights the University’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and climate action even as financial and social challenges mounted with the impacts of the global pandemic.

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Mural along Baltimore Avenue with Biker
Building a Sustainable Future

Since sustainability is--in essence--about the future, thoughtful planning is an essential piece of creating a story that achieves the kind of visions embodied in campus, community, and global sustainability goals. At the local scale, UMD and partners in government and business are guiding that planning with a deep commitment to “smart growth.”

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UMD Graduate Student and Office of Sustainability Outreach Associate poses at Cool Food Pledge Outreach event
Sustainability in the Food System

In support of campus sustainability goals, Dining Services developed and adopted the Sustainable Food Action Plan in October 2012, committing to continuously provide more nutritious and environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable food to campus diners.

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Student with Compost Collection Bin in Dining Hall
UMD's Journey to Curbing Waste

Despite the obstacles, UMD's departments have achieved major improvements in reducing waste and improving recycling, composting, and reuse systems. While tackling waste sources and systems is an ongoing process, each of us can contribute to progress towards much needed change.

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Past students at a faculty workshop on Sustainability
Advice from Young Alumni Leaders

UMD encourages students to think about and participate in sustainable living through courses and programs that integrate sustainability broadly across the curriculum and throughout student life. We asked young alums who lead SGA's Sustainability Committee and represented their peers on the University Sustainability Council to share their advice for current students.

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Current Sustainability Stories from Maryland Today

Ozone is threatened in the atmosmphere above the Arctic
Plunging Arctic Temperatures Speed Up Ozone Loss, New Study Shows
Extremely low winter temperatures over the Arctic are becoming more frequent and more extreme because of climate patterns associated with global warming, according to a new study from an international team of scientists including a University of Maryland researcher. The result is increased chemical reactions among substances humans pumped into the air decades ago, leading to greater ozone losses.
View Article Plunging Arctic Temperatures Speed Up Ozone Loss, New Study Shows
power plant
A New ‘Generation’ for Campus Energy Production
With President Darryll J. Pines accelerating plans to make the University of Maryland campus carbon-neutral by 2025, a long-term program to replace the community’s aging energy infrastructure is taking on even greater importance. A virtual campus briefing on the initiative, called the NextGen Energy Program, will take place at 12:15 p.m. today, hosted by Carlo Colella, vice president and chief administrative officer; Charles Reuning, associate vice president and chief facilities officer; and Scott Lupin, director of the Office of Sustainability. Interested faculty, staff and students can sign up to attend.
View Article A New ‘Generation’ for Campus Energy Production
Living Umbrella at Vigilante Coffee Co.
An Upgrade From Artificial Shade
Dave Tilley and his family were wilting on a sun-scorched pool deck in Las Vegas when he noticed other vacationers huddled in the shade of a shrub. The University of Maryland faculty researcher figured Mother Nature could be a little more accommodating. His idea: Combine flowering plants with patio umbrellas to provide an eco-friendly form of shade, cooling and beauty. Living Umbrellas, now available outside select D.C.-area restaurants and on the shelves at Sam’s Club, produce natural blooms from spring through fall and come with a solar-powered irrigation system. 
View Article An Upgrade From Artificial Shade