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Notre Dame awarded for sustainability efforts

Liz Lefevbre | Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Notre Dame has recently received two honors that highlight the University’s commitment to increasing sustainability on campus from Carbonrally.com and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The University won $10,000 from a competition held in conjunction with Syracuse University in November as part of NBC’s Green Week. In addition to making the Notre Dame-Syracuse football game carbon neutral and increasing recycling on game day, the University also participated in a sustainability commitment pledge drive to see which school could gain more pledges.

The drive, sponsored by Carbonrally.com, encouraged students, faculty, staff and alumni to reduce their carbon emissions.

Notre Dame’s pledge count of 1,932 beat out Syracuse’s 1,446 commitments. The winning pledges have committed to reducing carbon emissions by nearly 48 tons.

Junior Connor Kobeski, who worked with GreeND to register students during Green Week, cited GreeND as a crucial part of the competition’s success.

“GreeND members’ dedication to getting people signed up gave us the edge over Syracuse” he said. “A lot of people committed to Carbonrally allowed us to win the competition, and in the same way, a lot of people committed to reducing their carbon footprints will help us to control climate change.”

Kobeski also noted the importance of this event to increasing Notre Dame’s sustainability, especially in light of the $10,000 prize.

“Winning the NBC Carbonrally Challenge will help the Office of Sustainability to make even greater environmental changes across the university.” Kobeski said.

Students can take an active role in helping to make these changes, as the Office of Sustainability will accept student proposals for ways to use the prize money that will increase Notre Dame’s sustainability.

To download a proposal form, please visit www.green.nd.edu. All proposals must be submitted by February 2.

Notre Dame received a second honor when it became the first major university to be awarded a chain-of-custody certification from the MSC in order to guarantee sustainable seafood in the dining halls.

MSC is a global nonprofit organization committed to promoting the best environmental choices in seafood through its work with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public. By becoming chain-of-custody certified, Notre Dame can now assure that the fish present in the dining halls came from a fishery that meets MSC’s environmental standards.

The University has already received 2,000 pounds of MSC-certified Alaska salmon and pollock.

“This is an area that Notre Dame Food Services has been a leader in, and the MSC certification provides direct recognition of their efforts, as well as the opportunity to explore ways to advance in this area,” Jim Mazurek, the director of the Office of Sustainability said

For more information on Notre Dame’s current environmental initiatives and to learn how to make Notre Dame a sustainable campus, please visit the Office of Sustainability’s Web site at green.nd.edu.