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by Steve Sonka, Interim Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(This article appears in the July, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCCAs we undertook to develop an ambitious, yet realistic action plan, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faced a dilemma common to many universities: how to commit to goals based on predictions of conditions 20, 30 or even 40 years in the future. Further complicating efforts, our proposal dealt with issues involving building efficiency, renewable energy sources, and technologies that haven’t been invented yet, all while bearing in mind public sector budget deficits and the current reality of financial stress across campus. Our careful planning also had to take into consideration the size and diversity of our Big Ten campus, comprising some 41,000 students, 3,000 faculty, and more than 700 buildings. Acknowledging these challenges, the project team of students, staff and faculty working on the climate action plan also had to accept the certainty that new research on environmental issues will surely mean future adaptations to an already complicated plan.

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