Planning Taskforces and Initiatives

UMass Amherst Chancellor's Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) identified 6 top strategic priorities for advancing sustainability in 2017 through the Sustainability Integration Project (SIP).

In 2018, three concurrent planning efforts were launched to address half of these priorities: Carbon Mitigation, Zero Waste, and Campus Resiliency.

Carbon Mitigation: In April 2019 the Chancellor tasked the newly formed Carbon Mitigation Taskforce to develop a comprehensive, high level feasibility study that seeks to achieve carbon neutrality from 100% renewable energy for all heating, cooling, and electricity systems of the main campus by 2030.  The Taskforce partnered with an external consultant team to help the campus develop the Plan. The consultant team consisted of MEP Associates, Brailsford & Dunlavey, GreenerU, and Competitive Energy Services. The Carbon Mitigation Plan was used to inform and develop what is now the UMass Carbon Zero Campaign

Here is Campus Sustainability Manager, Ezra Small explaining an overview of the Carbon Mitigation Plan process and recommended solutions portfolio...

UMass Amherst Carbon Mitigation Plan Overview from GreenerU CM on Vimeo.

We have compiled over 50 written answers to the questions submitted by the UMass community during our three October 2020 webinars and follow-up surveys. To view and download the Q&A document you can click here.

The CMTF consisted of faculty, staff, and students.  Below were the members of the Carbon Mitigation Taskforce:

  • Ezra Small, Physical Plant (Staff Co-Chair)
  • Dwayne Breger, Environmental Conservation and Clean Energy Extension, School of Earth & Sustainability (Faculty Co-Chair)
  • Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillam, Campus Planning
  • Ted Mendoza, Design & Construction Management
  • Ray Jackson, Physical Plant
  • Diana Noble, Transportation Services
  • Gary Ritter, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Krish Thiagarajan Sharmin, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
  • Ben Weil, Building Construction Technologies, School of Earth & Sustainability
  • Robert Pollin, Economics
  • Ajla Aksamija, Architecture
  • Scott Auerbach, Chemistry
  • Jonathan Blum, Student Government Association, Economics (student)
  • Kimberly Acevedo, Graduate Student Senate, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology (student)
  • Caroline Williams, MASSPIRG 100% Renewable Energy Campaign, (student)
  • Angela Gregory, Master of Science in Sustainability Science, (student)

Zero Waste:  UMass Amherst has completed a Campus Waste System Assessment Study.  Led by the Office of Waste Management and a team of outside consultants, Vermont based DSM Environmental Services, Florida based Kessler Consulting Inc., and Florida based MSW Consultants, the process evaluated campus waste system infrastructure and education and engagement programs.  The study also explored compost program expansion options, and included a financial and economic analysis.  The study produced high level recommendations from the consultant to help the campus achieve its zero waste goals over the next 5-10 years.

The following 11 recommendations have been made by the consultant:

  1. Green Procurement: UMass should initiate a comprehensive evaluation of produce procurement.
  2. Take-Out Food Packaging: UMass should consider eliminating WorldCentric wares and packaging.
  3. Exterior Waste Bin Phase-Out: UMass should significantly reduce exterior bin collection costs by replacing outdoor with indoor.
  4. Food Waste Collection Expansion: UMass should add three-bin systems on ground floors of buildings, not each floor.
  5. Impact of Food Waste Expansion on GHG: Focus on reducing generation of food waste to help reduce campus GHG emissions.
  6. Education and Communications: Establish a centralized working group to adopt a university-wide brand to be applied across all channels, and to coordinate consistent imaging and messaging.
  7. Information - Consistent Bin Color and Size: Ensure all waste receptacles are uniform and consistently color-coded.
  8. WRTF Efficiency Improvements for Waste Transport: UMass should develop engineering plans to add two compactors with 40-yard boxes for single stream and food waste.
  9. Waste Collection Routes Streamlining: OWM should invest in additional rolling carts for storage of waste at collection points, reducing colleciton frequency.
  10. Waste Bin Aesthetics and Bag/Liner Waste: UMass should research and cost out mobile cart washing systems, eliminating liner expenses.
  11. Capital Replacement Planning: UMass should investigate integration of depreciation into OWM costs.

For more information download the full 40 page report here.


Campus Resiliency: The Campus Resiliency Taskforce released an RFP to develop a campus resiliency plan that expands upon the campus’ current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) approved UMass Hazard Mitigation Plan.  The plan will include a set of recommendations to appropriate committees and councils on campus and will incorporate climate projections, components of statewide plans and components of the Executive Order 569: Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth.  The vendor team selected was Boston, MA based Linnean Solutions and Washington, DC based Integral Group. The taskforce consists of faculty, staff, and students.  Below are the current members of the Campus Resiliency Taskforce:

  • Jeff Hescock, Environmental Health and Safety (Staff Co-Chair)
  • Elisabeth Hamin, Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, School of Earth & Sustainability (Faculty Co-Chair)
  • Kathy Wicks, Auxiliary Services
  • Niels La Cour, Campus Planning
  • ​Carolina Cudemus, Design & Construction Management
  • Nancy Buffone, External Relations
  • Randy Sailer, Information Technology
  • Ian Cyr, Police Department
  • Brian Lickel, Psychology Department
  • Curt Griffin, School of Earth & Sustainability
  • Rick Palmer, Northeast Climate Science Center
  • Maeve Howett, College of Nursing
  • Andrea Papa, Student Government Association (student)
  • Lauren de la Parra, School of Earth & Sustainability Alumni