Millersville administrators were looking forward to traveling to an international conference to discuss the merits of the Lombardo Welcome Center and the Positive Energy Fund. Then, coronavirus hit China and Europe.
While President Daniel Wubah, Vice President Guilbert Brown and Sustainability Director Chris Steuer did not travel because of COVID-19, they did send a video to the conference about Millersville University’s zero energy building and the money it generates for student research and projects.
GUNi, short for Global University Network for Innovation, is a network with 227 members from 80 countries. The network includes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chairs in Higher Education, higher education institutions, research centers and networks related to innovation and the social commitment of higher education.
The two-day conference centered on strategies schools from around the globe are using to support the economic, social and cultural progress of their nations, regions and societies through pursuit of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
The analysis focused on four aspects: awareness, more and stronger partnerships, advocating for an improved policy environment and support for transdisciplinary work between High Energy Institutions (HEI) and other organizations.
The group demonstrated how the Lombardo Welcome Center is being utilized to support these areas by raising awareness of climate change and renewable energy, while saving money to fund student projects that advance community sustainability. It also encourages faculty and alumni mentorship and support, connects students to community partner networks and operationalizes passion to address local challenges.
The presentation stressed that the success of Millersville’s zero-energy building could be replicated across Pennsylvania and beyond. The Lombardo Welcome Center generated 75 percent more energy than it used during its first year and is currently performing even better in its second year. The cost savings from the building’s surplus energy generation are used to support the Positive Energy Fund, which supports community sustainability. The building is also a physical demonstration of MU’s climate commitment, which has expanded to include support to the Lancaster City Climate Action Plan.
Although Millersville faculty could not present in person, higher education leaders around the globe are now aware of the University’s efforts to create a more sustainable campus and community.