About

Brown Is Green (BIG) began in 1990 as an environmental education and advocacy initiative at Brown University. The purpose was to expand the involvement of undergraduates in the research and analyses of environmental problems related to University operations and provide a model for active learning that could be replicated nationally. Initial projects included energy conservation and pollution reductions, and grew to include environmentally responsible design, energy efficiency, resource recovery, water conservation, and transportation.

In 2003, Brown University President Ruth Simmons signed a pledge sponsored by the New England Board of Higher Education to:

1. assess Brown’s energy use and pursue policies and programs to reduce our energy consumption;

2. develop long-term plans to shift away from carbon intensive fuel sources to clean, renewable energy sources;

3. educate our students on the problem of global climate change; and

4. to incorporate the issue of global climate change into our curriculum, where feasible.

An Energy and Environmental Task Force was established to assess the University’s baseline situation and impact and provide recommendations. In October 2006, the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC) was established to develop long and short-term energy and environmental goals and strategies. The EEAC released its first set of recommendations spring 2007 for Brown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to have the University move toward climate neutrality. The recommendations included reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10-15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and to aspire to a goal of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The Committee also recommended that Brown achieve carbon neutrality by FY2008 in part by initiating carbon-offset projects in the local community. In response to the latter recommendation, the Community Carbon Use Reduction at Brown (CCURB) Grant was created. The administration approved additional recommendations in January 2008.

The BIG website was selected to be the communication tool through which progress on the recommendations and adoptions will flow. BIG will also continue to be a valuable resource for information about its initial projects and will include links to other Brown environmental initiatives, student groups, community projects, courses, and research.

 

History of 

Timeline of Brown's Environmental Initiatives
1978 Center for Environmental Studies (CES) is formed.
1979 First-degree program initiated through CES.
1982 Urban Environmental Lab is renovated and becomes the home of CES.
1990 BIG (Brown is Green) goes live on the web.
1991 President declared the campus environmental stewardship initiative BIG, which began as an environmental education and advocacy initiative.
2002 Environmental Change Initiative (ECI) is endorsed by the Academic Priorities Committee.
2003 President Ruth Simmons signs pledge sponsored by the New England Board of Higher Education.
2006 Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC) was established to develop long and short-term energy and environmental goals and strategies.
2007 EEAC released its first set of recommendations for Brown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to have the University move toward climate neutrality.
2007 In response to the 2007 EEAC recommendation that Brown achieve carbon neutrality by 2008 in part by initiating carbon-offset projects in the local community, the Community Carbon Use Reduction @ Brown (CCURB) pilot grant program is funded.
2007 BIG conforms to new Brown web standards and includes new information about energy and environmental initiatives.
2010 Brown Dining Services removes bottled water from its shelves as a result of the student-led Beyond the Bottle (BtB) campaign.
2010 President Ruth Simmons signs the International Sustainable Campus Network Global University Leaders Forum (ISCN-GULF) Charter.
2020 Per 2007 EEAC Recommendations, Brown should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10-15% below 1990 levels by 2020.
2050 Per 2007 EEAC Recommendations, Brown should aspire to a goal of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.