Sustainability and Diversity

8/30/2011: Sustainability and Diversity are college administrators’s favorite buzzwords. Here’s UO doing something sensible on sustainability: spend $10 million on energy saving features for buildings that will save $500,000 a year in utility bills and reduce pollution. (But read the comments.)

So, what would a sensible approach to increasing diversity at UO look like? Stalin himself couldn’t make these 5-year plans work. Can Russ Tomlin do better by putting specially trained “faculty search advocates” on hiring committees?

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8 Responses to Sustainability and Diversity

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Faculty Search Advocates will help us fix our “unconscious” when we serve on a search committee?

    Russ Tomlin or whoever dreamed this up is the one who needs a psychiatrist!

  2. Anonymous says:

    If they have to spend $10 million up front, they will lose on average about 8% per year on lost opportunity costs (investment returns). So if they save $500K per year, that will not be enough to pay for this.

    This is implicitly recognized in the official statement that “The school also intends to recoup some of the added costs through savings on utility bills.”

    This sounds like another green energy boondoggle. There’s a lot of this going on with solar, wind (which is horribly destructive environmentally), other green — but it all depends on huge federal and state subsidies.

    I wonder how much the subsidy is beyond the $10 million that UO will put in?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dog says

    If the university were truly serious about actually reducing its energy and carbon footprint beyond the cosmetic/PR then it would change its academic calendar so as to be effectively closed from about Dec 15 to late January – this is where the bulk of our carbon footprint from natural gas heating comes from. Lower the temp on all the buildings down to 50 in this period and you will reduce our carbon footprint for the year by about a factor of 1.5 to 2.

    However impractical this might be for pure energy savings, nothing else comes close.

    I also remind the reader that our electrical footprint has gone from 8 MW to about 12 MW (MW = megawatts of power) due to the addition of the Arena, Glass Cube of Knowledge, and the Alumni Center. We have also gone from about 19,000 students to 24,000 students so there is extra power consumption in that as well. The UO is most definitely not operating in a sustainable matter.

    Finally, why not combine this mockery into one word:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Dog suggests: “Lower the temp on all the buildings down to 50 [from Dec 15 to late January] and you will reduce our carbon footprint for the year by about a factor of 1.5 to 2.” Old Man choses to think this normally thoughtful canine is kidding.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for closing down the UO for a few weeks during winter break, but please don’t turn down the heat…some of us work in the buildings 52 weeks a year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dog replies

    no, its about right

    our electricity usage essentially has no carbon footprint (mostly its hydro-power based). Our energy based carbon footprint (transportation not included) comes almost entirely from the campus heating budget which
    is mostly natural gas. About 40% of the heating
    season can occur during this time, depending on
    the weather conditions.

    I agree that factor 2 overstates the case but
    factor 1.5 is close or a reduction of 1/3 (both are equivalent) of carbon emissions associated
    with heating could come from this. In years with a real winter, perhaps 1/2 reduction could be seen.

    Its academic tho, cause it ain’t happening.

  7. Anonymous says:

    All of this is based on the highly speculative idea that carbon emissions are the main driver behind climate change. And of course, regardless of whatever turns out to be the real science of climate, on the idea that anything the little ol’ U of O does is going to make a difference! All the evidence is that the world is going to continue using more fossil fuels. If the U.S. cuts back — our current mild recession is associated with a very modest reduction in carbon usage, imagine if we got serious! — in all likelihood, the emerging countries would be more than delighted to take up the slack. Billions of people are not going to be willing to live as peasants forever, and we can’t stop them.

    In short, this is another typical narcissistic academic fetish. It is nonsense.

  8. Anonymous says:

    dog says,

    debates and opinions about global climate change should be re-directed to

    My point was merely about reduction of carbon emissions associated with energy generation on the UO campus. Nothing more.

    Personally, I don’t know squat about how climate systems work.

    However, “typical narcissistic academic fetish”
    (TNAF) behavior often comes in the form of hijacking a thread on a blog and broadcasting your personal unsupported opinion. Perhaps
    UOmatters needs a sideblog: TNAFmatters

    Then we could publish all kinds of crap about
    sustainaversity and football. Go Ducks, in
    Texas …