UConn Health Continues Commitment to Sustainability

Earth Day 2024: Institutional-wide efforts on campus and beyond

UConn health lower campus shot in the spring, with pond and flowering trees, University Tower in the background

UConn Health lower campus in spring (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Yellow daffodils in the foreground, UConn Health building in background
Daffodils spring up in March at UConn Heatlh in Farmington. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

As UConn Health marks Earth Day 2024, here’s a rundown of the institution’s sustainability efforts and plans:

  • UConn Health has been working with Eversource on a grant to install electric vehicle charging stations in our parking garages. This would bring the number of EV charging stations from four to 28 by next year.
  • Energy reduction projects including, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and lighting fixtures upgrades to LED institution-wide are ongoing. Lighting projects are expected to take about two years to complete. This will include exterior lighting and parking garages.
  • In February, Gov. Lamont announced a one-year pilot program to reduce UConn Health’s carbon footprint and deliver sustainable energy cost savings, starting with the Creative Child Center.
  • UConn Health reduced its total emissions by more than 25% from fiscal year 2018 to 2023, based on the most recent available data from the State of Connecticut energy tracking program EnergyCAP, which is managed by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
  • UConn Health Human Resources, in partnership with the sustainability working group, created a tip sheet on how to reduce the workforce’s environmental impact.
  • The medical school’s April core curriculum includes sustainability topics in honor of Earth Day.
  • In March, a student-run education session on climate and health included a surprise visit from Rebecca French, director of the Office of Climate Planning at the DEEP.
  • Dr. Adam Fischler, operating room medical director, anesthesiologist, and chair of the OR’s sustainability committee, has published seven issues of the digital newsletter “Sustainability in the OR.” The most recent addresses key sustainability takeaways from 2023.
  • In partnership with medical device and equipment company, Stryker, UConn Health diverted 1,100 pounds of waste from landfills in 2023, and contributed 150 trees to help restore forests through the company’s Products for the Planet program, as reported by Stryker.
  • During this legislative session, three UConn medical students, Maxime Braun, Maggie Boudreau, and Stefan Marczuk, as well as nurse Candice Maningas and Dr. Kirsten Ek, took part in a news conferences at the state Capitol regarding HB 5004, An Act Concerning the Implementation of Certain Climate Change Measures.
  • Dental students are planning a walk to the academic building from the Forest Apartments Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 a.m., and invite all to join them.
  • Dental and medical students plan to be at the state Capitol Wednesday, April 24, for a day of advocacy for climate legislation.
  • The student-run group Sustainability at UConn Health is out with the medical school’s annual Planetary Health Report Card. The grade this year is a B-, good for 13th among the 51 U.S. medical schools ranked, and up from a C+ last year and a C- the year before. See the full report.
  • The students also are holding a clothing swap in the student lounge throughout this week.
  • At a community health panel in Hartford Jan. 26, medical students and speakers brought their own utensils and food containers, making for a nearly zero-waste event for nearly 130 people.
  • The president’s office released the University’s 2024 Sustainability Action Plan in February.

UConn Health has a sustainability working group that meets quarterly, along with several subcommittees.

“We welcome involvement. Everyone needs to pitch in and every little bit helps,” says John Lombardi, UConn Health’s director of facilities engineering and sustainability. “Please be kind to the planet and aware this day, but carry your efforts and enthusiasm 365 days a year.”

See earthday.org for more sustainability information and resources.