The committee serves as the coordinating body for the university’s activities relating to sustainability. We address ways to imbue the theme of sustainability throughout Oregon Tech in meaningful and visible ways.
Climate Neutral by 2050
Oregon Tech will be climate neutral by the year 2050. This will be accomplished through a combination of energy conservation, improved building design, the purchase of carbon offsets, and the construction of twin "large" and “small” geothermal power plants. Other initiatives include:
Training graduates in sustainable technology, design, and practices:
- Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (life cycle analysis and lean manufacturing)
- Renewable Energy Engineering (harnessing energy from renewable resources)
- Civil Engineering (environmental design and LEED building design)
- Environmental Sciences (watershed sciences, geographic information systems, and sustainable technologies emphasis areas)
Native Plant Gardens and Xeriscaping
These gardens feature indigenous plant life and xeriscaped landscaping techniques (requiring little or no irrigation). They are located on the Oregon Tech campus, were designed by Civil Engineering students, and are maintained by the Sustainability Committee. The garden areas serve as a test plot for the adaptability and robustness of native plant species and collectively serve as a teaching garden for the community. Oregon Tech also has a small on-campus wetland.
Encouraging Alternative Transportation
Oregon Tech encourages alternative transportation use for community members. There are bus pass discounts for students, faculty and staff to encourage the use of mass transports. There is also an electric car plug-in station conveniently located in one of the parking lots. The campus gets involved with the annual Bike-To-Work day in May.
Groups directly involved in community sustainability efforts include:
- The Sustainability Committee which is made up of faculty, students, staff, and community members
- The Student Sustainability Club
- Engineers without Borders
- The Student Sustainability Internship Program, active at both campus locations
Simpler and more sustainable lifestyle enveloping a smaller-than-conventional carbon footprint.
Events and News
Organizations involved in the weeklong celebration of “Earth Week” included Oregon Tech Facilities Management Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Klamath Tree League.
Other Earth Week activities took place at the on-campus arboretum, the on-campus organic garden, and the native garden areas.
The Sustainability Committee is also attempting to work with Sodexo dining services to see how campus organizations that are working on sustainability efforts can cooperate and align with Sodexo’s long term corporate plan (10-20 years) to improve sustainability.
The Cornett Hall renovation continues. When finished, the improvements will incorporate a U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Cornett will be the second campus building with a LEED “green building” rating, the first being Dow Hall.
The Oregon Tech Tiny House Movement initiative continues to take shape. This is a student-led cross disciplinary effort meant to bring awareness to sustainable lifestyles by downsizing living spaces to several hundred square feet, as opposed to the typical home footprint in the U.S. of around 2,500 square feet.