Regents review sustainability goals, announce higher enrollment

A committee has spent a year developing goals to focus the University efforts at improved sustainability.

by Taryn Wobbema

Multi-faceted goals designed to make the University of Minnesota more successful in its sustainability efforts were presented to regents on the Facilities Committee meeting Thursday. University President Bob Bruininks charged the UniversityâÄôs Sustainability Goals and Outcomes Committee (USGOC) with the task of establishing system-wide goals in April 2008. The committee highlighted the most important of its 27 goals to be applied in areas including operations, research and education. Amy Short , sustainability coordinator, said the goals are meant to be broad and will be made more specific in the future. An operational goal to âÄúreduce energy useâÄù translates to a quantifiable 5 percent goal before the end of 2010, Short said. Some of the goals included pioneering models for sustainability among large public research institutions, reducing energy use and creating curriculum to connect subjects of environment, society and economy. âÄúWeâÄôre going to need to fine-tune the goals and the metrics,âÄù Short said. âÄúWe will review as we move forward to make sure weâÄôre on track.âÄù

Admissions numbers up

In a presentation to the Educational Planning and Policy Committee Thursday, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Tom Sullivan reported the current yearâÄôs enrollment numbers. Enrollment increased by about 1.6 percent system-wide this year to 67,364, according to a news release . The Twin Cities campus saw 4,745 more first-year applications this academic year, bringing the total number of applications to 33,910. Total Twin Cities enrollment increase 1 percent, to 51,659. The University experienced a 90.6 percent retention rate between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. This means the vast majority of the 2008 first-year students returned for a second year. According to a news release, this increase is part of a trend, up 4.4 percent from three years ago. Sullivan also presented data on the academic success of new students prior to admittance to the University. Based on ACT composite scores, first-year students averaged a 26.6, a new high and a .4 percent increase from last year. Other University campuses experienced similar increases in enrollment. The University of MinnesotaâÄôs newest campus in Rochester admitted its first freshman class, 57 students.