Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 48.56
Liaison Jay Meldrum
Submission Date July 8, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan Technological University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.67 / 2.00 Jay Meldrum
Executive Director of Sustainability
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

At the municipal/local level, the Michigan Tech administration works with the local Copper Country Recycling Initiative (CCRI)to promote curbside recycling in the local community. The Executive Director of Sustainability, Jay Meldrum, who reports to the President, works with CCRI and the cities of Houghton and Hancock, Michigan to add curbside recycling to both communities. Efforts are underway now to promote other local communities in the County, such as Dollar Bay, Calumet, and Lake Linden to adopt policies that would allow curbside or at least community level recycling locations. By combining efforts with City Managers and Solid Waste commissioners, we have made a difference in improving the diversion rate of the area (SDG 11). In addition, the Executive Director of Sustainability has testified at city council meetings in both Houghton and Hancock on ways to fight the high cost of energy in our communities. Meetings with the Houghton County planning commission discussed creating a Municipal Power system to reduce costs and Community Solar installation so that residents can benefit from solar energy through sharing the cost of the installation. This has resulted in the successful installation of a 100Kw Community Solar site in nearby L'Anse, Michigan. Plans are underway for another in nearby Baraga, MI, as well as in Houghton,


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

At the State level, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) manages for-profit energy suppliers and loosely manages Regional Electrification Authorities (Co-ops), and Municipalities. Historically this has lead to many different energy suppliers and poor cost control for the residents. We have the highest energy costs in the 48 Contiguous States. The Executive Director of Sustainability, who reports to the President, has met with the Governor of the State of Michigan, to look for ways to make consumer price a priority in the UP of Michigan and to put prices on par with the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The Executive Director of Sustainability has also met with the Michigan Energy Manager at her office in Lansing, to discuss ways to change the franchises in the UP so that Municipalities can better control price to the consumer. This effort focuses on Sustainability because it is fighting for fairness and equity. At $0.25/Kw-hr some of our low-to-middle income families literally have to choose between freezing and eating in the winter. Communities within a few miles of our area pay electric rates that are half of what we pay. We have no choice to pick our energy supplier. Our area has the lowest per capita income in the State, yet the highest energy rates. The utility claims that there are not enough customers per square mile, so no economies of scale. However the population density on the eastern side of the UP is the same as ours and the utility company that services that region boasts the lowest energy rate in the State. Our only choice is to push for the State to reign in this money hungry monopoly that supplies are energy, or to allow us to choose a different energy supplier as some states do. We advocate for our community to reduce their energy costs with better insulation, LED lighting, and addition of solar panels, yet prices continue to be approved by our Michigan Public Service Commission officials. I respectfully disagree with the reviewer's comment that "reduced cost may result in greater energy consumption." We believe this advocacy to be consistent with many SDG's including 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, 8 Improving Economic Growth, 10 Reduced Inequalities, and 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

The Great Lakes Research Center Director, Guy Meadows, is an national leader in Water quality (SDG 6 and SDG 14) and leads a national commission to investigate issues such as the Enbridge Line 5 pipelines that run under and near the Mackinaw Bridge which divides Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Michigan Tech under water robots monitor the pipelines and Michigan Tech students helped design an underwater tunnel as an alternative to the pipe that sits on the lake bottom.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Michigan Tech's President has supported the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (see attached m letter). As a follow up to this, he supported the Michigan Tech's Youth for Climate Action trip to Madrid Spain for the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) to negotiate global climate policy issues. Michigan Tech sent seven students with "Observer Status" to Madrid, Spain, in early December 2019 to present research findings related to four of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG): SDG 6, clean water and sanitation; SDG 7, affordable and clean energy; SDG 9, industry, innovation and infrastructure; and SDG 11, sustainable cities and communities. The students are also in Madrid to observe negotiations between nations concerning the threats climate change pose to humanity. Michigan Technological University was granted official observer status to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP25) earlier in 2019.
https://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2019/december/michigan-tech-students-participate-in-cop25.html


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
---

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

N/a


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Several references in the city of Houghton Master Plan for working with Michigan Tech on energy and recycling programs.

https://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2019/december/michigan-tech-students-participate-in-cop25.html

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