Vanderbilt University made significant progress toward its FutureVU goals in fiscal year 2022, as outlined in the annual progress report. FutureVU is a high-level, holistic framework for the development of campus’s built and exterior environments. That framework gives direction to campus projects and considers core themes such as community enhancement, connectivity, inclusion, accessibility and sustainability.
Highlights from the report include:
Campus Dining Initiatives
In line with FY2021 efforts, sustainability was a key focus, with a big emphasis on Campus Dining initiatives. Vanderbilt continued to make significant efforts in reducing the campus’s overall environmental impact by eliminating single-use plastic bottles in all athletics venues across campus; this is the latest step taken in a series of waste-reduction initiatives. Since the “No More Plastic” campaign began in 2019, plastic equivalent to more than 430,000 bottles has been saved. Campus Dining also completed planning for a reusable container program — Fill it Forward — which launched in fall 2022 and provides students with a free reusable container that can be used in all residential halls and returned for cleaning.
Additionally, Vanderbilt continued to make significant progress on MoveVU, the strategic transportation and mobility plan that falls under larger FutureVU planning efforts. New this year was the launch of the Commute Concierge program, where the Vanderbilt community can contact a commute specialist to help plan sustainable commute alternatives, group excursions and parking options. A parking study was completed to gain an accurate understanding of ADA parking inventory, align resources to barrier-free paths and develop future programming for the Mobility Ride program. As part of the daily parking program, which provides incentives to participants who use sustainable commute options, an additional 226 daily parking spaces were added to campus.
Additional highlights include:
- Construction continued on the Vanderbilt 1 Solar Farm, and Vanderbilt University joined Silicon Ranch Corp., Nashville Electric Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority on April 11, 2023, to “flip the switch” on the 35-megawatt solar facility in Bedford County, Tennessee.
- Redevelopment of the West End Neighborhood continued, with Rothschild College opening in August 2022 and continued beautification efforts taking place throughout campus and the surrounding areas. Additionally, the Central Utilities Initiative began in February 2023, which includes enhancements to support various Vandy United projects, the Highland Quad residential colleges that will be built along 25th Avenue South, and other future projects.
- Thousands of acorns from white oaks were collected around campus as part of a collaboration with the Metro Tree Advisory Committee and Tennessee Department of Forestry; the acorns were taken to East Tennessee, where they were grown and cultivated for a year and are now being spread across Tennessee to help replenish the state’s inventory of white oaks. Additionally, campus planners developed an official tree replacement policy to ensure that Vanderbilt’s tree canopy is preserved when building projects are initiated or trees die naturally.
- A variety of community engagement took place across campus and beyond, from the establishment of the Climate Leaders Academy, to a spring break educational trip where engineering professors and students went to Israel to learn about the country’s water recycling programs, to the Wond’ry launching the Climate Innovation Accelerator program to help the community advance climate-ready solutions.