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About Us

About Us

The Office of Sustainability, opened in January 2015, provides the UMass Lowell community with essential, centralized, support services which integrate, communicate, and promote sustainable opportunities that contribute to the pursuit of carbon neutrality.


UMass Lowell is a leader in sustainability

A Selection of Milestones

  • 1989
    Recycling Program Initiated
  • 2007
    Signing of the American College & University President's Climate Commitment
  • 2007
    Marty Meehan named UMass Lowell Chancellor
  • 2008
    Single-Stream Recycling Program Initiated on Campus
  • 2009
    Development of "UMass Lowell 2020: A Strategic Plan" Begins
 
  • 2009
    Climate Change Initiative Formed
  • 2011
    Energy & Sustainability Manager Hired
  • 2011
    North Campus Plant Fuel Conversion and Upgrades
  • 2011
    Installed Four PV Arrays on Four Buildings Totaling 204.8 kW
  • 2012
    Climate Action Plan Adopted & CAP Steering Committee Formed
  • 2012
    UMass Lowell Partnership with 4.5 MW Westford Solar Project
  • 2013
    Launched Innovative Food Waste Diversion Program
  • 2014
    First STARS Assessment Completed
  • 2014
    Entered into Net Metering Purchase Agreement for 15.9 MW Solar Project
  • 2015
    Established of the Office of Sustainability
  • 2015
    Accelerated Energy Program Begins
  • 2015
    University Recognized as STARS Silver
  • 2016
    Charter Signatory of Second Nature's Climate Commitment (1 of 84 schools across the country)
  • 2016
    Completion of first 200 kW Solar Canopy array on campus
  • 2016
    University Recognized as STARS Gold

A Brief History of Sustainability at UMass Lowell

 UMass Lowell's initial sustainability efforts began in 1989 with the launch of a recycling program. Over the years the sustainability program grew slowly in a piecemeal fashion with no clear direction or comprehensive management program. The turning point came in 2007 when Chancellor Marty Meehan was hired. Chancellor Meehan brought a strong environmental awareness gained over fourteen years of service as a Congressman. His environmental interest and awareness started UMass Lowell down a path that resulted in a rapid transformation.

UMass Lowell was a signatory to the American College and University President's Climate Commitment prior to Chancellor Meehan arriving in 2007 but had not moved forward to develop and submit the plan or identify a program how the university would comply with the requirements of achieving carbon neutrality. Chancellor Meehan and his administrative team championed this challenge.

In 2008, the sustainability initiative piloted a zero-sort recycling program. In the first week, the recycling rate went from 13% to 38%. UMass Lowell became the first New England School of its size to fully implement a zero-sort recycling program. Since then the university has reduced waste generation per campus user by 54% and has increased the solid waste diversion rate from 12% to 30% (excludes C&D and other wastes).

With new leadership in place, UMass Lowell issued its first Climate Action Plan in 2012 and embraced its implementation with the development of an all-encompassing campus leadership team. UMass Lowell achieved it's Phase 1 interim emission reduction goals as outlined in the Climate Action Plan five years early and is on the path to achieve its ultimate goal of neutrality.

To learn about some of the awards and recognitions we've received as a result of the efforts above check out our "Awards & Recognition" section.