AMHERST, Mass. – A campus that prides itself on hosting a broad array of sustainability projects and programs from green transportation to LEED-certified greenhouses, the University of Massachusetts Amherst this month is introducing an interactive website, the Campus Sustainability Explorer. There, students, faculty, staff and the public can click on more than 100 icons to read about “green” buildings, research programs in sustainability, a student farmers’ market and more.
Bill Stanton, the Sustainability Explorer’s lead designer and developer, says, “a powerful tool like this is intended to serve as a vehicle for educational outreach. However, it’s also a strong platform for decision support, providing resources for students, faculty, staff, administrators and other campus decision-makers engaged in a range of sustainability work.”
“The explorer is a one-stop-shop for viewing, sharing and learning about sustainability at the UMass Amherst campus,” he adds.
Clicking on an icon from among 14 categories will provide users with information about such programs as campus recycling, transportation, waste reduction, sustainable building features, advocacy groups, food and bus stops. Following one of the water icons, for example, users learn that the campus’s reclaimed water treatment plant re-uses water from the Town of Amherst’s wastewater treatment plant in campus steam boilers. Transportation icons display information about “WeCar” rental, bus routes and bike sharing.
The comprehensive explorer aims to represent all aspects of sustainability available on campus, says Stanton. He and other developers hope that the explorer educates not only the campus and the greater UMass system community, but other higher education institutions and the general public about the ongoing initiatives at UMass Amherst. That said, he notes that the list of sustainability projects, programs and initiatives is always growing and new information will be added as it becomes available.
Stanton and the Green Building Committee, a sub-committee of the campus Environmental Performance Advisory Committee, with members of the student-driven Campus Sustainability Initiative, developed the tool over the past two years with support from Campus Planning and Facilities Planning.