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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sustainability at Yale University


Yale University, US is playing the lead role for a worldwide coalition in sustainability development. During his visit to India, assistant secretary of the university, speaks about the initiative and about Yale's India-specific plans

WHAT is the mission of this visit?

There are two focus areas - environment and public health management. Another focus area is the international internship programme we organise for our students across 22 cities in 18 countries.

There are 20 students from Yale who would be travelling to Delhi for their internships from early June to mid-August. 10 of them would be working with the non-profit sector and five of them would be associated with the BPO industry.

Yale has a strong association with The Energy Research Institute (TERI). Any plans for expansion of your activities on environment studies?

We do wish to expand our environment related activities both, with TERI and with other agencies, and increase the level of collaboration. We also wish to work with the corporate sector in this area. But before this, we wish to set some examples by reducing carbon emission at our campus and we are committed to this.

Yale University has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 17% since committing to a steep reduction in 2005. Our president, Richard C Levin, has directed Yale to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below the University's 1990 level by 2020. Reaching that target will require Yale to reduce emissions 43% below its 2005 level. Based on the planned growth of the University over the next 15 years, Yale's emissions reduction goal is also 58% below the level of emissions projected for 2020.

What is the worldwide coalition of academic institutions?

Yale's own greenhouse gas reduction efforts are part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy on its large campus that involves protection of ecosystems, water conservation, recycling, and use of locally grown products in the university's dining facilities.

Yale established an Office of Sustainability in 2005 to coordinate these efforts. Since at the government level nothing much has as yet been done, Yale has been working actively with other universities on efforts to gather data and set targets regarding greenhouse gas emissions, as well as exchanging best practices related to sustainability. Among those groups are the International Alliance of Research Universities, of which Yale and Copenhagen are members, the Ivy Plus group and the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium, which Yale chairs.

We are also partnering universities in Japan and China, among others, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses. Yale has taken the lead role in sustainability development for a worldwide coalition.

What are your India specific plans?

We are a 300 year-old university. What we are doing now is to adapt to the changes and to get more globally connected. We are committed to provide international experience to our students. That is the reason we visit India and we wish to expand our activities in India manifold. Besides, we are also helping setting up public health institutions in India.

Is Yale considering setting up offshore campuses?

We have no desire to set up campuses elsewhere as we know that we cannot replicate the Yale experience in any other setting. We wish only to collaborate.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group

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