Action Research Project: Cutting Costs and Conserving Energy at the University of Minnesota

Cutting costs and conserving energy at the University of Minnesota

Team members: Tim, Therese, Katie, Bridget

Overview: We seek student and community input for cutting costs from the campus budget. What problems do members of the campus community see currently, and what ways do they believe that costs could be cut? What programs or services at the University of Minnesota are unnecessary, could be suspended or could be changed to conserve money and energy? We will survey a sample of students, staff and faculty to ask for their ideas to lower costs and conserve energy, and we will collect this information through online surveys or email. We will then present the ideas to the related departments for review.

Goal: Our goal is not to physically implement the change, but rather to gather COMMUNITY INPUT on how money can be saved for the U of M and for students, and then to present the information to the responsible department.

To put the plan into action: We will conduct the survey online, with an email address that members of the campus community can use to submit their ideas. We will use online rather than paper survey to save paper and reduce waste. Ideas that are entered could be put into a drawing for a prize, such as tickets to sporting events, or other items that may be donated.

We will attempt to obtain university email lists to request suggestions and ideas for the project. Any mass email will be first sent to Dr. Crosby for review. We will contact One Stop and find a way to be put on the web page. The Minnesota Daily could feature a small article on our project as advertisement, or we could advertise for free, if possible, as a student group.

We will need to identify points of contact at the departmental level for information flow. We will contact the department related to any given idea, and present the information or suggestion.


The criteria for our project is as follows:

- We will accomplish something in two months.

- We will add to the program that is already in place, and bring more to the project than just extra help. We will use our personal knowledge to assist the program.

- We will help to make a positive impact on the environment and the budget.

- We will facilitate a discussion between the program and the department that could implement the change.

Project Milestones.

The following are a list of milestones/benchmarks we will use during our project. Utilizing backwards planning, we created milestones to ensure we maintain the right path to successfully complete our project by the end of the semester.

- 28 APR - Class presentation

- 24 APR - Participation in Beautiful "U" Day

- 20 APR - Mass email campaign to student body and faculty of "Top 10" list and link to webpage

- 17 APR - University web page completed and up

- 17 APR - Approved top 10 list complete and ready to distribute

- 17 APR - Email list is acquired/approved

- 10 APR - Table concept for Beautiful "U" Day is complete and ready

- 24 MAR - Brief Barbara on concept and gain approval for go ahead

I'm sure you two have already seen this - but in case you (or anyone else in the class) haven't seen it:

It All Adds Up

The University of Minnesota is committed to reduce annual campus energy usage by 5 percent by the end of 2010. A 5 percent reduction will save the University $2.25 million each year and result in 25,000 fewer tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

Meeting this ambitious goal will require a campuswide effort. Students, faculty, and staff, as well as departments and academic units, may commit to energy conservation by taking the Energy Conservation Pledge.
The Energy Conservation Pledge

Working together, we can make huge leaps in reducing emissions, cutting electrical usage, and saving University resources.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs