How does the Rocky Mountain weather make moving toward carbon neutrality easier or harder?

“Well, our sunshine affects it in a positive way. Solar is pretty financially viable in most places in the world anymore, but in a place like Colorado where we’ve got on average 300 days of sun, it’s especially good. However, it’s challenging in that we’re still a heating-driven climate. Most of our buildings need more heating than cooling throughout the year and that requires a substantial source of energy.”

— Ian Johnson, director of sustainability


How can alumni get involved?

“Join Tiger Link ( Once on the website it will take only seconds to copy your LinkedIn profile to Tiger Link. Once copied, join our first group – Climate Change Professionals — with over 200 members. Tiger Link will allow you to connect with other alumni working in this space as well as current students who may be interested in connecting with you for information, help with research, internships, and jobs. Your human capital is valuable.”

— John L. Knight Professor of Economics Mark Griffin Smith


What else do we all need to consider when it comes to environmental challenges, on-campus and off?

“I’ve come to believe that our primary barriers to solving environmental challenges do not lie in the technical details of how the world around us works or the solutions we require. To be sure, both of those remain vitally important, especially the latter. And yet, I fear none of those solutions will take hold at the scale and pace that we require unless we focus above all on our increasingly decaying community bonds. Last year, when asked to write a think piece on my field for one of its core journals, I concluded with this: ‘The path our country and world follows will not rest upon the next article any one of us publishes. It will rest upon the community we all choose to build’.”

— Provost and Professor of Environmental Science Alan Townsend, quoted from “The Community We All Choose to Build,” for Inside Higher Education


How did the campus geography lend itself to geothermal on Tava Quad?

“The fact that we have open spaces without buildings on them, and ones that are designated to remain that way forever, make it feasible. Something like the library needs a fairly large geo-exchange field. We needed to be able to access that fairly readily in order to drill. It tore up the quad for the duration of a summer, but beyond that, you can’t really see the impacts of the installation. That quad remains largely the same visually as it did before. If that had been slated for development, that would have made it more difficult.”

— Ian Johnson, Director of Sustainability