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OU Celebrates Sustainability Successes

OU Celebrates Sustainability Successes

student relaxes in hammock on campus

Across the University of Oklahoma, the ongoing commitment to maintain a sustainable and environmentally friendly campus is making noticeable strides.

On the Crimson and Green website,, members of the OU community can learn more about the university’s efforts and achievements as an earth conscious institution.

“One of our goals in developing the website was to create a consolidated source of information for students, faculty and staff to become more familiar with OU’s commitment to sustainability and inspire them to become campus sustainability advocates,” said Sarah Ballew, director of energy and sustainability services at OU.

OU’s eco-friendly measures are explained on the site, which outlines a number of sustainability efforts, including energy, water, green building, recycling and more.

In the area of energy management, for instance, conservation efforts and the procurement of electricity from renewable sources has enabled the university to reduce energy consumption per square foot by 20% (compared to fiscal year 2012 baseline levels) and emissions more than 60% (compared to fiscal year 2008 baseline levels).

Green building standards allow the university to build resource-efficient structures, which reduce operating costs through decreased utility expenditures. To evaluate its green building efforts, OU uses the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard. Currently, six OU buildings are LEED certified, two have earned a “silver” distinction, and one building – Gallogly Hall – is undergoing a review process for LEED recognition.

Members of the OU community with an interest in collaborating with others on campus environmental initiatives can read more about different involvement opportunities and organizations here. All students, faculty and staff are invited to sign the Crimson and Green Commitment – a personal pledge to sustainability, encouraging eco-friendly habits in our everyday lives.

In recent years, OU has earned several distinctions for environmental responsibility. OU currently ranks first in the Big 12 and 10th in the nation among higher education institutions in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Additionally, OU has been selected three consecutive times by The Princeton Review to be featured in its Green Guide, based on data from surveys of hundreds of four-year colleges. Other acknowledgments include the Environmental Excellence Award from the Earth Month Network and designation as a Bicycle Friendly University.

Celebrating progress is important, but Ballew notes that building upon these successes depends on all of us.

“Resources are finite, and the decisions and actions we all make today will impact future generations,” Ballew said. “Safeguarding our environment is a constant community-wide effort.”


By Melissa Caperton

Article Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2020