Sustainable UVM's Video Series: Part 2- Internal Commitments & History

This short video highlights UVM's internal sustainability commitments and history over the past decade. Part of a 4-part series, these shorts provide an overview of UVM's initiatives and efforts toward sustainable operations and academics.

Scripted and narrated by Charles Martin '16, Sustainability Communications Intern
Produced and edited by Colby Yee '19, Sustainability Videography Intern

Energize your summer! 2016 Clean Energy Internship Program

Co-sponsored by UVM's Clean Energy Fund and host organizations/firms, we announce the launch of the Clean Energy Industry Internship Program. Developed and coordinated by Professor Amy Seidl, seven clean energy internships have been arranged with Vermont and New England based organizations/firms. Current UVM undergraduates and graduating seniors can apply to take part in the first intern cohort of 2016.

$2500 for each intern toward living expenses, sponsored by CEF and internship host organization.

Application deadline is March 15, 2016

In Search of the Smart Grid

BY JOSHUA BROWN, Vermont Quarterly

The sun is trying to shine on Rutland, Vermont. It’s a gray morning in April, but a few beams cut the clouds as Nathan Adams ’96 and I turn off Route 4 and head up City Dump Road. We pass two trucks unloading garbage at a transfer station. Then we get out of the car and start walking through the mud toward the top of this now-closed landfill. Amidst piles of melting snow, 7,722 silicon solar panels cover ten acres like so many rows of purple tabletops tipped toward the south. READ MORE

Al Gore Draws Crowds to Campus on "The Climate Crisis and the Case for Hope"

Al Gore, 45th U.S. vice president, spoke on “The Climate Crisis and the Case for Hope" at the University of Vermont on October 6, 2015.  Here are some multimedia sources from the days events:

SOLD OUT: Al Gore speaking at UVM on October 6th!

Tickets for Al Gore have "sold-out." There is overflow seating in Mann Hall for the event (Trinity Campus). Thanks for the interest and your commitment to meeting the challenge of climate change!

Al Gore
45th Vice President of the United States
Chairman, The Climate Reality Project

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
10:15 am in Ira Allen Chapel
26 University Place, Burlington, VT

This is a ticketed event - tickets are free, but limited Tickets will be released (1 ticket per person) to the UVM community and general public starting on Thursday, October 1st at 8:00 am at the 3rd floor information desk at the Dudley H. Davis Center on UVM's campus.  Should tickets remain past October 1, they will be available for pick-up during Davis Center business hours.  Limited overflow seating will be available for those without tickets to view the lecture live in Mann Auditorium (105) in Mann Hall at 208 Colchester Avenue on UVM's campus. 

To request ADA accommodations, such as interpreting, please contact Conference and Events Services at or 802-656-5665 in advance of the event.

For up-to-date information about the lecture or ticket availability, please visit or or call 802-656-3272.

For media inquiries, please contact Brandi Thomas at

Complimentary Valet Bicycle Parking - a Coat Check for Your Bike!
Local Motion will provide complimentary valet bicycle parking for this event. Cyclists are strongly encouraged to drop off their bicycles at the valet bicycle parking that will be set-up in front of Ira Allen Chapel on University Place.  Trained staff and volunteers will look after checked bicycles during the lecture.  When the lecture concludes, cyclists can simply return to the valet bicycle parking with their claim tickets to pick-up their bicycles.

Parking is available in the Gutterson Parking Garage on UVM's Athletics Campus.  A shuttle bus will be available starting shortly before 9:30 am to transport lecture attendees to Ira Allen Chapel from the Patrick Gym Lobby before the lecture and then back following the conclusion of the lecture.

This lecture is hosted by Seventh Generation and The Energy Action Seminar/Clean Energy Fund at the University of Vermont 


UVM Ranks 10th on the 2015 Princeton Review Green Schools

As the nation gears up to celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, The Princeton Review ( today released its sixth annual free guide to the most environmentally responsible “green” colleges.

“The Princeton Review's Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition” profiles colleges with the most exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives, and activities. The profiles in the guide give college applicants information about each school's admission requirements, cost and financial aid, as well as student body facts and stats.

The free 218-page guide is downloadable at There users can also peruse detailed “Green Facts” write-ups on the schools. The write-ups report on everything from the school's use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

New to the 2015 edition is a ranking list of the “Top 50 Green Colleges” on which Lewis & Clark College (Portland OR) captured the #1 spot. Among its many green distinctions: 100% of the college's electricity is generated by “green power” sources; the college has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30% since 2006, and the Lewis & Clark Green Energy Institute develops projects that advance and support renewable energy policies.

Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our “2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey”, 61% told us that having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college,said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's Senior VP-Publisher. (A complete report on that survey is We strongly recommend the schools in this guide to environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges.

Franek noted compelling facts about the top 50 colleges on the guide's new ranking list. Among this group of schools:

  • 33% of their total food expenditures go to purchases of local and/or organic food
  • 81% of the new construction on their campuses is USGBC ( LEED-certified
  • 96% offer an undergraduate major or degree that is sustainability focused
  • 98% have a sustainability officer and sustainability committee

The top 15 schools on The Princeton Review's “Top 50 Green Colleges” list are:

  1. Lewis & Clark College (OR)
  2. Green Mountain College (VT)
  3. University of California, Santa Barbara
  4. State University of New York-Stony Brook University
  5. Dickinson College (PA)
  6. Cornell University (NY)
  7. American University (DC)
  8. College of the Atlantic (ME)
  9. Middlebury College (VT)
  10. University of Vermont
  11. Portland State University (OR)
  12. Colorado State University
  13. Willamette University (OR)
  14. University of Washington
  15. Pomona College (CA)

OoS Intern Sophia Hoffacker '17 receives prestigious Udall Scholarship

UVM student Sophia Hoffacker ’17 has been awarded the Udall Scholarship, a prestigious, nationally competitive award for sophomores and juniors who are committed to careers related to environmental or Native American issues. Udall Scholars have demonstrated strong leadership and excellence in the classroom.

Hoffacker is the picture of an environmental activist. She is a College of Arts and Sciences student pursuing a double major in environmental studies and political science. Through her internship in UVM’s Office of Sustainability, Hoffacker recently organized the first annual Student Advocacy and Leadership Summit, a forum for campus leaders from environmental, social justice, professional development, and residential learning groups to come together for a full day of networking, collaboration and growth.

Hoffacker is a member of the steering committee of Student Climate Culture, a group working towards fossil fuel divestment on UVM’s campus. She is quite fervent when discussing what UVM is doing right — and what it could improve upon with regard to responsible energy consumption and socially responsible investments.

Since 2011, Hoffacker has been active in the Sierra Student Coalition, a national network of high school and college students working to protect the environment. She has been a participant in the organization's Summer Grassroots Training program, a trainer, a training director, and now a consultant to the training program directors. The program provides aspiring activists with the tools they need to work toward environmental and social justice.

Hoffacker, who is from the D.C. area, would like to commit her career and future to educating others about the threat of climate change.

READ MORE from University Communications

Conference Explores Electric Power From the North

The Clean Energy Fund was a sponsor of the Power from the North Conference. The following article was written by Joshua Brown at UVM Communications on March 25th.

Under the shadow of the 1970’s oil crisis, Vermont’s then-governor Richard Snelling negotiated to purchase electric power from Quebec. In July 1984, the government-owned utility Hydro-Quebec and Vermont finalized a long-term contract, and over the following decades a large portion of the state’s electric power has flowed down from the north.

Today, under the shadow of climate change, the relationship between Vermont and Hydro-Quebec, now the world’s largest hydroelectric producer, is coming back into sharp focus.

To discuss this relationship — and other facets of the dynamic cross-border production and purchase of electric power — more than 200 people gathered March 23-24, for a conference, “Power from the North,” at the University of Vermont.

Crossing Vermont

"In some ways, the story of the past — a governor looking to the north, bringing hydro resources into Vermont and New England, building a new transmission line — is the story that's happening again," said Richard Watts, director of UVM’s Center for Research on Vermont, and one of the conference’s co-organizers.

There is a wealth of carbon-free hydroelectric power being produced in Quebec, many of the conference participants noted. And on the other side of the border, many states are hungry for new sources of clean energy as climate change goals and closing nuclear plants put increasing pressure on officials and markets.

“Southern New England states are looking to reduce their reliance on natural gas and are de-carbonizing their electric systems. Hydro could play a large role in that,” said Watts. “But how does it get to southern New England? Where would the transmission lines go? What would Vermont get out of it? Those are all questions we need to think about here in Vermont and were part of the conversation over the last few days.”

Market possibilities

The long relationship between Quebec and Vermont “has made us the true pioneers of clean energy in North America,” said Pierre Arcand, Quebec’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, speaking in one of the conference’s panels. However, “if we want to fight against climate change, then we need, together, to set a price on carbon,” he said. “We have geographic proximity. And the values that we share make us natural partners,” Arcand said. “We remain open to a range of market possibilities.”

But the conference organizers did not create the event to “advocate for more power imports from Quebec,” said David Massell, director of UVM’s Canadian Studies Program and one of the co-organizers. “Our goal is to frankly debate the causes, costs and consequences of bringing power from the North.”

“This is a unique conference, bringing together a highly diverse group of participants,” Massell said. “We have citizens, students, business leaders, academics, elected officials, an aboriginal leader, environmentalists — and they're all talking to one another about one of the great issues of our time: How do we go forward to meet our energy needs in a genuinely sustainable way?”

Fundamental transformation

Several of the conference panelists spoke of a complementary strategy of increasing Vermont’s portfolio of both “distributed” and large-scale renewable power. That is, increasing household and other small-scale electricity generation from sources like solar, wind, and micro-hydro, while also opening more transmission lines and market connections to bring in large-scale hydropower from Quebec and off-shore wind power from the Atlantic — if New England states are going to reach their greenhouse gas reduction targets, including Vermont’s goal of obtaining 90 percent of its power from renewables by 2050.

“We need a fundamental transformation of our energy system that's been around for 100 years,” said speaker David Cash, the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Utilities. “We should be saying: let's bring [renewable energy] transmission in everywhere we can.”

First Nations view

But energy development of any kind can be costly, with winners and losers. Even “clean” dams flood land, displacing wildlife and people. One speaker, Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, worried that past would be prelude. He noted that many aboriginal people have been excluded from the decision-making and benefits of development in Quebec hydropower over the last 50 or more years — and, more generally, excluded for centuries.  “We’re at the mercy of a process we don't control," he said, “What we see today is a government project which sits on unextinguished aboriginal title — for the Innu, that's a reality today — and yet still moves ahead with full force.”

Including a business-to-business meeting on the second day, the conference ranged over the complex history — and possible futures — of the Vermont-Quebec electric energy relationship. “Panelists’ presentations were kept short, leaving time for audience commentary,” said UVM’s Richard Watts. “ The result was a genuine conversation.”


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