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University Sustainability Program

Posted by Morgan White on June 30, 2013

From: []
Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 9:23 AM
Subject: University Sustainability Program

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to ask for your help in reauthorizing the University Sustainability Program (USP) at the Department of Education.  It is part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which is set to expire this coming August. This is the only federal sustainability education funding program in existence, and it is imperative that we keep it alive. 

As you know, USP only received partial funding one year, as part of the FY2010 Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education appropriation (generating over $4 million in grants for sustainability projects). This fact makes USP vulnerable to being dropped out of the new reauthorization bill.

USP's original House sponsor, Representative Earl Blumenauer, has proposed to make a push for funding USP as part of the FY14 federal budget, and has recently sent a "Dear Colleague" letter (attached) to House Members asking them to join him in this request. He would be the first to admit that securing funding for USP in these tough times is a long shot at the moment. But he feels that a push for FY14 funding will at least help to start building momentum for reauthorization now by getting USP back on Congress's radar screen. And while it is also likely that action on the new Higher Ed act will be delayed beyond the August expiration date, hearings on the bill are being held now, and so we need to get our position regarding USP on record in a timely manner.

Towards that end, I have drafted two letters of support (attached), one for a FY14 appropriation and one for reauthorization, which I hope you'll help circulate to your networks for co-signing by college presidents and national NGOs. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. I have put a somewhat arbitrary deadline of May 30 for signing on. If you need help drafting a cover note for these letters, I'll be happy to help. We generated over 300 signatories the last time around, and I'm hoping we can do better this time.

Many of us worked hard to get USP passed five years ago, and a time will come when we have a good shot at getting it more fully funded. So it would be a major setback to have it fail to be included in the new higher education bill, and then have to start all over from scratch in trying to get a new authorization bill passed.

Thank you as always for your help!

Best wishes,


James L. Elder, Director
The Campaign for Environmental Literacy
14 Jersey Lane
Manchester, MA 01944
978-526-7768 (office)
978-609-2892 (cell)


Attached Files