About the Office of Sustainability


Inspired leaders, stronger communities, and thriving natural systems... that's our commitment.

The UGA Office of Sustainability coordinates, communicates, and advances initiatives in teaching, research, service, student engagement, and campus operations. In alignment with UGA's Great Commitments to create healthier populations; stronger, more resilient communities; and a safer, more secure future for all; our sustainability initiatives provide meaningful experiential learning for students and valuable support for the communities we serve. The Office of Sustainability is committed to cultivating an inclusive, diverse and respectful workplace.

Structure and Funding

Established in 2010, the Office of Sustainability (OoS) is a department within Facilities Management Division and part of UGA Finance & Administration. Salaries for OoS staff are generously provided by Facilities Management Division. Funding for OoS projects and programs is provided by the mandatory student Green Fee (PDF), which supports student internships, grants, and sustainability-related educational and operational intiatives.

Definition and Scope

Acknowledging historical and varied uses of the term, our current working definition of sustainability in the UGA Office of Sustainability is:

The just and ethical integration of social, environmental, and economic solutions to ensure that all people can thrive, both now and in the future.

The 17 Global Goals describe a broad scope of imperatives for collective actions to build a better future for everyone. The Office of Sustainability actively partners with UGA students, faculty, staff, and the broader community to advance initiatives in teaching, research, service, student engagement, and campus operations toward a shared vision for our campus and community.

History

In 2008 the Go Green Alliance, a coalition of environmental student organizations, launched The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) campaign to establish an Office of Sustainability at UGA through a self-imposed $3 per semester student green fee. Student leaders developed relationships with faculty, staff, and administrators and produced a petition with over 1000 student signatures in favor of the Green Fee.

The Green Fee referendum was included on the Student Government Association ballot in 2009 and passed by a 4-1 margin with a 21% voter turnout—the largest voter response at UGA in over a decade. The UGA Mandatory Fees Committee recommended establishment of the Green Fee to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents which granted approval during a moratorium on new student fees due to the “significant student support” demonstrated.

During Fall 2013, the UGA student body voted in favor of a $1 increase in the Green Fee. The increase was denied by the UGA Mandatory Fees Committee because the Regents would not consider new or increased mandatory fees, the original referendum stated that the Green Fee would be re-evaluated in five years, and the voter turnout (1,771) was insufficient to demonstrate campus-wide student interest.

Following a formal review of the effectiveness of the Office of Sustainability in Spring 2015, UGA President Jere W. Morehead announced increased institutional support for the Office of Sustainability in the amount of $80,000 per year starting in FY16. This support, equivalent to the proposed $1/student increase, effectively expanded funding for sustainability initiatives at UGA without increasing student fees.

Photo of UGA President Jere Morehead speaking

“The University of Georgia remains committed to the best practices in sustainability, experiential education, research, and community engagement.”