Written by Shelby Pendowski
Vanderbilt University made significant strides during FY2021 in sustainable building and landscape projects, accessibility improvements and transportation and mobility initiatives, even through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sustainability was a key area of focus, with many initiatives launching throughout the year. Vanderbilt University announced a collaboration with the nonprofit organization Climate Vault that allows the university to address the full extent of its carbon footprint now, achieving carbon neutrality decades ahead of its initial goal.
Additionally, the university and the city of Nashville, Tennessee, announced a Green Invest partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service—a collaboration that will allow the region to take a bold step forward in expanding availability and access to renewable energy at a critical time in global efforts to address the threat of climate change. The partnership was recognized with a 2021 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award.
Additionally, Vanderbilt continued infrastructure and inclusivity improvements as part of the Accessibility Master Plan, with the opening of the Multicultural Community Space in October 2021 and the analysis and planning for moving the Student Access Center in spring 2022 to an upgraded and fully ADA accessible space in Rand Hall.
The FutureVU Progress Report provides an overview of FutureVU efforts incorporated on campus in the 2020–21 academic year. FutureVU is a campus planning process, in support of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan, that gives direction to campus projects and considers core themes such as community enhancement, connectivity, diversity and inclusion, accessibility and sustainability.
Additional highlights from the report include:
- The groundbreaking on the Graduate and Professional Student Housing The university also broke ground on the 48,000-square-foot renovation and expansion of the Owen Graduate School of Management’s Management Hall to bring the entire OGSM student body back under one roof.
- The Transportation and Mobility Office launched the MoveVU Commute Hub, which is an essential component of the shift toward making a daily decision on how to commute to campus and enables the delivery of a daily parking option.
- A daily parking program was piloted during the 2020–21 academic year, and more than 1,400 participants enrolled in the first round of daily parking permits.
- Vanderbilt collaborated with Metropolitan Nashville Public Works to install automatic pedestrian crosswalk signals at five major intersections around the university and along a portion of 21st Avenue South to increase pedestrian safety and eliminate pedestrians’ need to press the crosswalk buttons.