Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.92
Liaison Gretchen Vanicor
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Gretchen Vanicor
"---" 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?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

Members of the University, either from the Office of Sustainability or other parts of administration or faculty, sit on various commissions or task forces at the local, state, and federal level at the request of University President Savoie. These organizations include work towards sustainable development initiatives that range in scope. A selection of participation includes:

Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team (ETRT) is a Lafayette Consolidated Government (city/parish governmental body) commission board. President Savoie appoints one staff member to represent the university and advocate for sustainable development, smart growth, and community resilience in this major project. The Evangeline Corridor Initiative (ECI) supports collaboration and engagement with the people who know the area best — those who live and work there. Through a two-year effort of the ECI consultant team and with much public input, the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team (ETRT) unanimously adopted the Evangeline Corridor Initiative Report and District Design Manuals. Both the report and design manuals detail the underlying dynamics of the selected neighborhoods, opportunities for redevelopment and recommends catalytic projects to revitalize important neighborhood assets. The ECI Plan has been endorsed by the Lafayette City-Parish Council and Planning Commission.

The Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team (ETRT) is a committee formed by the City-Parish Council in 2015 and consists of 15 members. The members are selected by the City Council, the Mayor-President, UL Lafayette, SMILE, Downtown Development Authority, and the Bayou Vermilion District. The ETRT has been charged with overseeing the planning and implementation of the Evangeline Corridor Initiative as well as providing direct feedback to City Council members on future actions and funding, including administering the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. (https://www.lafayettela.gov/DP/PlanningRezoning/EvangelineCorridor)

The Acadiana Planning Commission serves the public sector in the planning and implementation of Economic, Community & Transportation Development throughout the Acadiana region. APC is one of eight planning districts founded on the principle that municipalities and parishes working together can accomplish more together than individually. The districts are where collaboration and cooperation happen which, in turn, creates a cost-effective and efficient way of addressing regional and even statewide and multi-state issues. The districts are governed by independent boards which consists of elected and appointed officials from their region. Together, they promote intergovernmental cooperation and planning and help facilitate the dialogue between local, state and federal agencies, to arrive at solutions.

University President Savoie represents the University on the Board of Directors. Several staff members serve on subcommittees at the request of President Savoie to represent the University. This includes Director of Sustainability and Director of Transportation Services on the Transportation and Bikeway subcommittees, and Director of Louisiana Watershed Flood Center on the Louisiana Watershed Initiative Region 5 Steering Committee.

The Acadiana Planning Commission, and its board, advocate for sustainability and community resilience at the local city and parish government levels, and the state government level. Issues APC advocates for include: regional mass transit options, urban pedestrian safety and improvements, local and regional bikeways, brownfield remediation, traffic congestion reduction, cross-parish rain gauge network and green infrastructure.

APC also serves as the fiscal agent and organizing body for watershed management activities in Region 5 of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI), which encompasses 16 parishes and four HUC 8 watersheds: Teche, Vermilion, Mermentau, and Mermentau Headwaters. Louisiana Watershed Initiative is governed by the Council on Watershed Management established via executive order by Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards. (http://planacadiana.org/oz-prospectuses/#).

In addition to these formal commission and board positions filled or appointed by University President Savoie, university staff advocate for several other sustainable development and resiliency issues at the direction of President Savoie on behalf of the university. Subcommittee participation with Lafayette Consolidated Government include, Lafayette Bike Subcommittee, Keep Lafayette Beautiful Committee, and Shared Mobility Subcommittee. Additionally, university staff and President Savoie advocate for policy changes and public investment in the areas of smart growth, pedestrian and bike-friendly complete streets, green infrastructure on public right of ways, and mass transit investments. The University has also advocated for our community-owned Lafayette Utilities Services to divest from its coal-fired energy plant, and are exploring PPA through LUS for renewable energy.

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

In August 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed two executive orders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance coastal resilience. Executive Order JBE 2020-18 formally established Louisiana’s first-ever Climate Initiatives Task Force, a group of stakeholders who will study and make recommendations to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Initiatives Task Force consists of representatives with diverse view points from the scientific community, state government, private sector, and civil society. Their charge is to utilize science to develop strategies for curtailing Louisiana’s greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that fully recognizes the state’s extreme climate vulnerabilities as well as the characteristics of its energy-intensive economy. Emissions reduction goals set for the Task Force include cuts of net greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2025, 40-50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050. University President Savoie appointed Dr. Terrence Chambers, Director of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Center and Dr. Mark Zappi, Director of the Energy Institute to represent the university. (https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2647)

In May 2018, Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards issued Executive Order JBE18-16, creating the Council on Watershed Management and a coordinated, interagency structure at the state level under which all Watershed Initiative efforts will be coordinated and managed.
The Louisiana Watershed Initiative is a watershed-based approach to reducing flood risk in Louisiana, guided by the following principles: Using scientific tools and data; Enabling transparent, objective decision-making; Maximizing the natural function of floodplains; Establishing regional, watershed-based management of flood risk.

University President Savoie and Vice President for Research Ramesh Kolluru appointed Dr. Emad Habib, Director of Louisiana Watershed Center, to represent the university on the task force. UL Lafayette provides support to LWI by developing standards and guidelines for developing modeling tools and prioritization of flood mitigation projects throughout the state. The science-based recommendations for sustainable water management and community development enhances resilience against flooding and promotes aquifer recovery. This information is used locally by the Acadiana Planning Commission to inform policies outlining flood monitoring and development in the region.

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

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, VP of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, serves as a member of the FEMA National Advisory Council at the request of university President Savoie. Sustainability and resiliency are key aspects of his focus on this role.

The purpose of the FEMA National Advisory Council, established by US Congress after Hurricane Katrina, is to advise the Congress, the Administration, and the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management, including preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other manmade disasters. Dr. Kolluru was appointed by FEMA Administrator to the FEMA National Advisory Council to serve a three-year term from 2018 through 2021, where he co-chairs the FEMA Vision 2045 Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to define the policies, systems and processes that allow FEMA, by the year 2045, to achieve equitable and sustainable outcomes in emergency management through a federally supported, state- and tribally- managed, and locally executed approach.

In addition, in his defacto Governmental Affairs role for UL Lafayette, Dr. Kolluru educates and advises the Congressional delegation on matters, issues and priorities of the University in Washington DC, as well as in Baton Rouge with state agencies, administration and the legislature. This includes advocacy for funding for research in climate change, watershed and flood management, as well as solar and renewable energy.

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

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

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):

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.