Climate Action Plan Forum

Climate Action Plan Forum

The Climate Action Plan Task Force held two public forums to introduce the charge given by President Brown and the progress made so far. The main purpose of the events was to engage BU students, faculty and staff from both the Charles River and Medical campuses in providing their thoughts on what a BU Climate Action Plan should entail.

Over 150 participants organized in small groups to discuss initiatives and suggest ideas around five major topics:  Energy, Transportation, Supply Chain & Waste, Resiliency & Climate Preparedness, and Research & Curriculum.

At the end of the workshops, each group reported out the top discussion points and ideas for future programs and efforts. Every group presented concrete actions to be taken on campus while encouraging a deeper engagement on sustainability topics across disciplines and through initiatives outside of classrooms.

Moreover,  participants called for an enhanced collaboration and advocacy with surrounding regional systems operating outside the university’s control. Below are some of the topics that emerged from the community feedback sessions.

Supply Chain

  • Waste
    • Improved signage for recycling and trash bins. Education programs on waste and behavior to end-users, especially to reduce hazardous and biowaste.  Reduce printing for classes
  • Food
    • Cut down on meat with “meatless Mondays”
    • Alcohol EDU but for food to raise awareness about food waste issue
    • Public art exhibit or other art mediums to engage the community
    • Grow some food on campus, maybe using vertical gardens
  • Have a Sustainability officer position on Medical Campus


  • Shuttle/inter campus travel
    • Work with nearby universities to integrate the shuttle system
    • Promote teleconferencing
    • Convert shuttle bus to electric or hybrid
    • Encourage walking: app comparing walking time vs waiting for the bus
  • Biking
    • Improve safety of bike lanes; Increase number of bike racks and install bike cages; Provide bike tools rental
    • Subsidize Hubway for students
  • Commuting
    • MBTA: negotiate a better discount for students
    • Provide better incentives for ride sharing, facilitate car-pooling
    • Minimize the use of Uber. Lyft and similar services

Resiliency and Climate Preparedness

  • Prepare buildings for flooding: retrofit old buildings, use porous pavement option, move equipment and labs to high floors
  • Evaluate financial trade off between retrofit vs new construction
  • Increase green spaces on campus
  • Prepare for heat waves: provide cooling centers, add sun screens on windows, students can take online classes, train the community on health risks associated with heat waves


  • Update outdated heating and cooling systems
  • New finance mechanisms for green buildings
  • Explore possibility of having white and green roofs
  • Explore option of wind, solar, geothermal, co-gen on campus as well as trade off between several small projects and one big project
  • Buy REN
  • Don’t consider natural gas as ‘green energy’
  • Advocate for green energy at local, state, national level

Curriculum and Research

  • Reach out to those not engaged with climate change: require a basic course on sustainability and sustainable living or field study course in the community or practicum
  • Faculty training sessions on sustainable teaching methods
  • Create a program where BU students promote and teach science, technology and sustainability to middle and high school students
  • Advertise internships, research and student engagement opportunities