Sustainability and environment proposed as center of excellence

The board of trustees on April 23 heard about the next proposed center of excellence—sustainability and the environment. The center is designed to build upon BGSU’s existing strengths to meet the demands of the state in identifying research and educational focuses at regional universities. BGSU has numerous research areas directly related to sustainability, several of which fall under the scope of the Ohio Third Frontier Project.

Partners in the center come from across the University, from photochemical sciences and the Hybrid Vehicle Institute to physics and astronomy and the Department of the Environment and Sustainability. The partners in the proposed center have an established record of achievement in basic and applied research, engagement and education related to sustainability and the environment.

BGSU first formally declared its commitment to environmentalism in 1992 when it signed the international Talloires Declaration ( The Forum for Campus Sustainability recently organized the first symposium for a sustainable campus—Sustainable U—that brought together experts from around the state for a rich educational experience for students, faculty and staff.

Externally funded research programs in alternative energy, environmental monitoring and global change have achieved international reputations. More than $17 million in external funding for projects related to sustainability and the environment has come in the last three years. These have been in such areas as alternative energy, the electric vehicle and alternative energy technology, environmental monitoring and assessment, biodiversity conservation, ecological consequences of humans’ impact on the environment, and global change.

The center’s partners have responded to the need for more technologically literate citizens by offering new courses in science and technology, as well as new programs designed to recruit and retain students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. Partnerships between the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Development have resulted in achievement and external funding of more than $3 million in the last three years alone.

Start-up companies related to sustainability and the environment have been launched, including Blue Water Satellite Inc., and CTI Inc., and numerous patents have been filed, particularly in the areas of photochemical sciences and electric vehicles.

BGSU will submit the new proposed center to the chancellor and the University System of Ohio for approval.

April 27, 2009