Evaluation of EPA’s “colleges and universities sector program” at three universities in New York State

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Title: Evaluation of EPA’s “colleges and universities sector program” at three universities in New York State
Author: Martinez, Magaly Montenegro
Abstract: The topic to be investigated in this thesis is the impact of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Colleges and Universities Sector Program on three universities located in New York State. The parameters to be analyzed are the changes in the way environmental issues have been approached using tools and incentives provided by the EPA Colleges and Universities Sector Program, drivers that motivate the colleges to achieve environmental management through compliance with environmental laws and regulations, and obstacles that stand in the way of compliance. This research is based primarily on a survey conducted in three universities participating in this program. The findings and conclusions yielded by this investigation concerning the impact of the EPA Program on the three universities indicate that colleges and universities are putting a great effort into compliance and are using the tools provided by the Program, such as participation in various voluntary programs, compliance guidance, Environmental Management Systems (EMS), and Best Management Practice (BMP) benchmarking information. This study has found that the three universities have started developing compliance programs, audit programs, and EMSs at their campuses. Finally, the universities studied have not participated in EPA programs for the innovation of environmental regulations that are applicable to colleges and universities as the program proposes. Since the EPA launched the Colleges and Universities Sector Program, colleges and universities are expected to have increased their efforts to manage their impact on the environment in order to avoid the costs of penalties in case of non-compliance as a motivational force. However, colleges and universities are influenced to manage their environmental issues by additional drivers such as universities’ own managerial strategies, leadership, environmental ethics, and stakeholders. On the other hand, obstacles that prevent colleges and universities from managing environmental issues originate from the low priority of the board and top management on environmental issues, lack of funding, and lack of adequate guidance from governmental institutions. According to the way that the EPA Colleges and Universities Sector Program has influenced environmental management at three colleges and universities, it can be expected that colleges and universities will continue putting their efforts mostly on compliance, participation in voluntary agreements, audit practices implementation, benchmarking of BMPs, and EMS implementation. EPA approaches to environmental management proposed in the Colleges and Universities Sector Program are implemented at a slow pace due to the limited availability of funds.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/5510
Date: 2007

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