USFSP, City of St. Petersburg Announce Sustainability Initiatives

A photo of Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska standing at a podium and speaking at a press conference

USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska announced the university’s Climate Action Plan at the press conference on Dec. 9.

USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman jointly announced the launch of several energy initiatives during a press conference on Friday, Dec. 9. Wisniewska spoke to the university’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), a guide to reduce its baseline Greenhouse Gas emissions by 50 percent by 2035 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Sustainability, a respect for our environment, is among the core values stated in USFSP’s Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan,” said Wisniewska. “We take seriously our commitment to become carbon neutral.”

USFSP is home to two LEED Gold certified buildings. The new Lynn Pippenger Hall, which will house the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, will be completed in January and will become the university’s third building to achieve that recognition.

Wisniewska announced a $125,000 investment from the Student Green Energy Fund in a new solar carport project that will be constructed close to new College of Business building.  The university’s new Biology and Chemistry labs, adjacent to the business building, also are expected to qualify for LEED Gold certification.

“We hope that the power provided will meet all of the energy needs of these new labs,” said Wisniewska.

Emily Gorman, co-manager of the Suncoast Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” St. Pete Campaign, said she is proud to see how USFSP and the city are working to mitigate environmental risks and to capitalize on economic opportunities.

“When our way of life is connected, climate change becomes personal to those of us who call St. Petersburg home,” said Gorman, a Fall 2016 graduate of USFSP and resident of St. Petersburg. “Today, we acknowledge our vulnerabilities and transform them into opportunities. Our environment, our economy, and our communities’ equity are one. To strengthen one area is an opportunity to strengthen them all.”

Kriseman announced the city’s Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP), which will serve as a road map to make St. Petersburg the nation’s 20th green city and the first in Florida to commit to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

“I am confident these initiatives will propel us closer to our vision of a city where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play,” said Kriseman. “I am proud to stand with our City Council members and the Chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and say that here in St. Petersburg, we will be working together for a more sustainable and resilient Sunshine City.

They were joined by Kassie Rohrbach, associate director of the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100”  campaign.