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Progress Report

FutureVU Progress FY2023 (July 2022 – June 2023)

FutureVU embodies the university’s core values and a holistic approach to campus planning. In addition to building projects, FutureVU considers core themes such as sustainability, transportation and mobility, accessibility and more.  FutureVU represents a high-level, holistic framework for the physical development of campus, while also contemplating core principles that align with our academic mission. While FutureVU implementation continues, this report offers a glimpse at Vanderbilt’s achievements in FY2023. 

To view the FY2019 progress report, please visit the following page. 

To view the FY2020 progress report, please visit the following page. 

To view the FY2021 progress report, please visit the following page. 

 To view the FY2022 progress report, please visit the following page. 



Energy efforts are core to FutureVU and the university’s long-term sustainability strategy to significantly impact its environmental footprint by powering its campus entirely through renewable energy and achieving carbon neutrality.  On Earth Day 2019, Vanderbilt University unveiled a comprehensive long-term strategy to significantly reduce its environmental footprint in part by powering its campus entirely through renewable energy, putting the university on track to be carbon neutral by 2050. 

In 2021, Vanderbilt University reached carbon neutrality, decades ahead of its initial goal. A collaboration with the nonprofit organization Climate Vault allowed the university to address the full extent of its carbon footprint through carbon offsets for FY2020 and FY2021. 

In FY2022, Vanderbilt University continued to offset its carbon footprint by investing in the development of solar energy projects that will expand access to clean energy in the Southeast with Clearloop, a Silicon Ranch company. Vanderbilt’s investment initially supports a solar farm in Panola County, Mississippi, in the town of Batesville—a community at the intersection of the Mississippi Delta and the Appalachian foothills. This solar farm will provide access to clean energy to approximately 1,000 Panola County homes. Vanderbilt will receive the carbon offset credits for the life of this solar project. Two more solar farms are planned as part of Vanderbilt’s collaboration with Clearloop. Beginning in FY2023, a portfolio approach will enable Vanderbilt to continue its carbon neutrality. In addition to offsets from Clearloop solar farms, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm in Bedford County will offset approximately 70 percent of the university’s annual indirect greenhouse gas emissions from electricity purchased through Nashville Electric Service, or the equivalent of enough power to help serve more than 6,000 homes for one year. 

Vanderbilt also opened its first solar farm through the Green Invest Program , the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, in April of 2023. 

A planned second solar farm in Moore County, Tennessee, is projected to supply enough renewable energy to mitigate the remaining 30 percent of emissions.

To learn more about the broader university sustainability goals, as well as review the annual sustainability report, please visit the FutureVU Sustainability website. 

20 kWh in solar panels on campus as of FY2023 

24,482 kWh energy saved in FY2023 from solar panels 


FutureVU’s long-term sustainability strategy calls for reducing the consumption of waste on campus. Strategies are focused on everything from food waste to elimination of single-use plastics, to landfill waste reduction, to improvements in the campus recycling program and changes in procurement strategies. 

Vanderbilt has a 30-year history of recycling efforts to reduce waste going to landfills. In addition to traditional recycling programs for materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard and glass, Vanderbilt has recycling programs for non-traditional materials like construction and demolition debris, toner cartridges, batteries, light bulbs, scrap metal and electronics. 

Additionally, the ReUse program that started in 2016 sustainably manages unneeded furniture and equipment owned by university departments and laboratories.  

In FY2022, Vanderbilt continued to make significant progress in reducing its overall environmental impact by eliminating single-use plastic bottles in all athletics venues across campus. This bold step was the latest in a series of waste-reduction initiatives as part of Campus Dining’s “No More Plastic” campaign. The collaborative effort involved reduces plastic waste by more than 430,000 plastic bottles per year and over 1.7 million bottles during a graduating class’s four-year experience.  

In FY2023, Campus Dining partnered with ReusePass to continue a reusable container program. ReusePass offers a straight forwarded process that empowers participants to effortlessly make eco-conscious dining choices and help curb single-use plastic waste.  Campus Dining eliminated paper and compostable to-go containers. If food is needed for take- out, it is only available in a ReusePass container.  

ReusePass containers are available at the Commons Dining Center, E. Bronson Ingram Dining Hall, Rothschild Dining Hall, Rand Dining Center, Kissam Kitchen, and Nicholas S. Zeppos Dining Hall.   

Vanderbilt had a diversion rate for the University of 32% in FY2023. 

33 BigBelly solar trash compactors on campus in FY2023

128 tons or 256,300 pounds of food waste composted in FY2023

8 food waste collection sites on campus as of FY2023

134 total hydration stations on campus as of FY2023



FutureVU considers sustainable infrastructure an important element of ensuring that the built environment is handled in an environmentally responsible and efficient mannerThe university aims to impact the built environment in positive ways and minimize negative impacts as much as possible. In FY2023, greenhouse gas emissions normalized on a square foot basis have dropped more than 37 percent since FY2020, despite a growth of over 950,000 gross square feet.  

First university in Tennessee to earn LEED certification 


25 total LEED certified buildings on campus as of FY2023 


1 WELL certified building on campus as of FY2023 (certification pending) 


1 PETAL certified building on campus as of FY2023 (certification pending) 



Central to the FutureVU vision is a series of transformative projects to address specific opportunities and challenges in campus neighborhoods. FutureVU provides a consistent strategy and guiding principles necessary for the realization of all capital projects and changes to the built environment. All capital projects are aligned with the mission of the university, the goals of the Academic Strategic Plan and the objectives of FutureVU. The university has a variety of capital and built environment projects underway. 

Projects Completed in FY2023

  • Completion of the Graduate and Professional Student Housing, Broadview at Vanderbilt 

Projects and Studies Underway



FutureVU aims to clearly contextualize inclusion in the built environment through careful space design. In May 2017, the university launched a comprehensive accessibility study with the long-term goal of making indoor and outdoor areas accessible and inclusive. The study was a multi-step process that included assessing and documenting accessibility features on campus, integrating data collected with VU technologies and abilities to create an authoritative database for accessibility and other issues, and launching a task force to create an Accessibility Master Plan. The master plan was finalized and endorsed in FY2019. 

In spring 2022, an inventory of ADA parking spaces and overall university parking counts began. This inventory will help align resources to barrier-free paths and develop future programming for Mobility Rides, the approved ride program for those with medical or accessibility needs. 


Kirkland Hall

Kirkland Hall, which is central to Vanderbilt’s history and widely recognized as the university’s signature building, is undergoing a significant renovation that is reflective of the institution’s purpose and commitment to excellence. 

Kirkland Hall opened in 1875 and initially housed all of Vanderbilt’s classrooms and laboratories. It was rebuilt in 1906 after a devastating fire, and the iconic building with a 170-foot clock tower has remained a hub of campus and administrative life. Originally called “Main Building,” it was renamed in honor of Vanderbilt’s second chancellor, James Hampton Kirkland, and his wife, Mary Henderson Kirkland, in 1937. Kirkland’s last major renovation took place in 1988, when the current HVAC and electrical systems were installed. 

The project will improve the building’s overall accessibility—making the spaces more inclusive and compliant with ADA regulations—while addressing critical infrastructure improvements. 

Among other planned improvements: 

  • Modifying the trench drain line at the loading dock to avert flooding of the first floor during heavy rains 
  • Restoring the building roof and tile coping 
  • Upgrading stair towers to enhance safety and vertical circulation through the building 
  • Redesigning bathrooms to be single occupancy. 

Jess Neely Drive Transformation

Planning and design occurred this fiscal year for the transformation of Jess Neely Drive, which is a part of the Vandy United capital projects. Work has begun to install updated utilities and infrastructure along the street to support the redesign of the FirstBank Stadium south endzone and future Vandy United projects. 

Similar to the university’s transformative projects on Kensington Avenue and the alleyway in the West End Neighborhood, Jess Neely Drive, when completed, will promote a pedestrian and bicycle-centric environment where the Vanderbilt community can collaborate and enjoy the Frist Athletics Village. 

In support of the university’s FutureVU and MoveVU initiatives, the re-envisioning of Jess Neely enhances the connection between the Athletics Neighborhood and main campus, as well as makes the area more walkable, bikeable and sustainable. 

Infrastructure and inclusivity improvements



Overarching Site and Landscape Target

FutureVU builds on the parklike setting most notably found in the Historic Core neighborhood of campus. FutureVU aims to strengthen the beauty and diversity of campus by identifying and embracing existing open spaces and creating new open spaces, connecting edges and destinations in a legible manner, and opening visual connections throughout campus. In addition, increasing campus green spaces is a core component of the university’s long-term sustainability strategy.

Full Campus

Setting an overarching site and landscape target is necessary to achieving the goals outlined in FutureVU. The FutureVU framework calls for an overarching campus-wide target of 50 percent green space, 25 percent hardscape and 25 percent building footprint. As of the end of FY2022-23, the campus breakdown is 38 percent green space, 33 percent hardscape and 29 percent building footprint. As development continues, percentages will be updated with the intention of achieving the campus-wide target.

landscape and the arboretum

When Bishop Holland McTyeire oversaw the planting of more than a thousand trees on Vanderbilt’s campus nearly 150 years ago, he set in motion a time-release canopy that now provides widespread shade for the university community. Vanderbilt’s entire campus is designated as an arboretum. In 2013, the campus contained 6,181 identified and geolocated trees and shrubs, with approximately 190 species. Each year, new trees are planted to replace trees that die or as landscaping for new construction. As steward of today’s arboretum, University Landscape Architect James Moore carries that legacy forward, working not only to beautify campus and preserve its botanical diversity, but also to study the trees’ resilience to disease and better understand how they absorb heat and stormwater for midtown Nashville. 

The university’s arboretum collection now contains over 6,500 trees, with a focus on native and adapted species to the Middle Tennessee region. However, with more than 150 species, there are some unique specimens selected for their interest. These trees cover the over 300 acres of the Vanderbilt University grounds. The most common species in the arboretum is Magnolia grandiflora, with over 500 representatives. There are a total of 16 species of oaks on campus—the most common genus on campus—with willow and pin oaks being the most common species. 

As steward of today’s arboretum, an official tree replacement policy was developed to ensure that Vanderbilt’s tree canopy is preserved whenever building projects are initiated or trees die naturally.   

In line with canopy goals outlined through FutureVU, the university’s land use framework for future development, the new policy will help campus partners think critically about designs that would avoid removal or damage to the root zone of significant trees. If trees must be removed or the root zone damaged, the policy provides guidelines for how to replenish the canopy. 

Project managers working on new construction now will submit a worksheet to the University Landscape Architect, James Moore, at the beginning of the project that outlines its impact on the site’s trees before finalizing design and budget. If it is determined that a tree is impacted negatively, the sheet will detail the species and diameter of the tree to be removed, as well as what may happen to the wood.   If a project cannot replant all the required trees within its boundary, the policy provides for the creation of a “tree bank” so that trees may be planted elsewhere on campus. These funds can also be used to support the campus landscape, improvements to infrastructure on the landscape or to sponsor planting and maintenance of trees in the wider Nashville community. This work will be summarized and reported back to the Arboretum Advisory Committee.  

The university landscape architect also will inspect all removed trees to decide if logs may be used for fabrication of furniture or other items. All new building projects, with oversight by steering committees, are encouraged to look for opportunities to reuse wood, either from the university’s stockpile or from trees removed during construction.  

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier attends a tree planting ceremony on April 24, 2023.

The Bicentennial Oak, which was Vanderbilt’s oldest specimen at around 250 years old, fell in 2022 due to age-related decay. Wood from the bur oak—which was five feet in diameter—has been salvaged. Because of the significance of this special tree, a committee has been formed to assess possibilities for how to use the wood. 

The planting of a Sesquicentennial Oak took place in April, near the site where the Bicentennial Oak once stood. The new bur oak was the first part of a robust plan to plant more trees in honor of Vanderbilt’s 150th anniversary. 





StorMwater Management

Bioretention area in front of E. Bronson Ingram College

FutureVU considers stormwater management and water conversation core to landscape sustainability. Improved stormwater management can be tackled through a variety of methods, including:

  • Canopy: slows water
  • Green space: absorbs and slows runoff
  • Removing and limiting pavement: reduces runoff

Stormwater can also be expressed as a design feature integrated in a park-like setting of campus. FutureVU aims to utilize a campus-wide approach to stormwater by implementing a variety of green infrastructure and low-impact development practices, such as bioretention areas, in order to achieve stormwater goals.

6 total green roofs on campus as of FY2023 


Issues of transportation and mobility are paramount to FutureVU efforts, given the goals to beautify the campus, enhance the parklike character community members enjoy and better connect areas of campus that feel disconnected. FutureVU calls for the diversification of transportation options, prioritization of pedestrian mobility and improvement of accessibility. In addition, commute travel accounts for a significant portion of the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing those emissions is paramount to the university’s long-term sustainability strategy. 

During FY2023, the university expanded programs as part of MoveVU, the university’s strategic transportation and mobility plan. 

transportation and parking programs

  Daily Parking Program

The daily parking program continued through the 2022–2023 academic year. Participants pay only for days that they park on campus, which allows a daily choice in commute method and incentivizes the use of sustainable commutes.  The program is available to faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate and professional students. Participants’ commute trips, whether parking or sustainable commutes, are logged in their personal Commute Calendar used to monitor commute activity and record parking charges. The Transportation and Mobility office monitors activity in the garages and feedback from participants and allows more participants into the program over the course of the year. The university dedicates 1,630 parking spaces in Sony, Terrace, Wesley and West garages to the Daily Parking program. As of June 30, 2023, the Daily Parking program had 2,750 participants. The Office of Transportation and Mobility does not foresee the need to increase the number of daily parking spaces on campus while continuing to increase the number of participants in the program. Active management of the daily parking spaces allows for maximizing the occupancy, and right-sizing the parking inventory.

1,630 daily parking spaces on campus as of FY2023 

2,750+ participants in daily parking in FY2023 

Mobility Rides

The Mobility Rides program, a joint project among Equal Access, Public Safety and the Transportation and Mobility Office, continued to provide service using electric golf carts to students, faculty and staff with medical or accessibility needs who have registered and are approved.

2,517 mobility rides offered in FY2023

Hourly Paid Parking

Vanderbilt continues to provide an hourly paid parking program in select parking lots and garages on campus for short-term and visitor parking needs. Campus visitors and Vanderbilt community members can use these spaces powered by the ParkMobile app, which offers a variety of contactless payment options. The addition of hourly paid parking spaces is an outcome of the FY2020 parking program study, which explored how short-term and flexible parking options can be added to the parking program to better align with the Vanderbilt community’s diverse needs. 


407 hourly parking spaces on campus as of FY2023

57,420 hourly paid parking transactions in FY2023

Pedestrian Safety

Vision Zero seeks to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility. The aspirations of Vision Zero align closely with MoveVU goals of improving pedestrian safety, connectivity and transportation in and around the Vanderbilt campus. To make campus infrastructure more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists, the MoveVU team continues to engage the campus community and city in discussions about their specific needs. 

The MoveVU team supported Walk Bike Nashville’s fatality mapping to raise awareness and remember the 48 pedestrians that lost their lives due to car crashes on Nashville streets in 2022. Vanderbilt continues to support and guide strategies toward Vision Zero implementation across the city. 

Learn more about additional pedestrian safety efforts here. 

WATCH: Five pedestrian safety highlights on Vanderbilt’s campus


In 2023, Vanderbilt launched an all-electric multi-vehicle shuttle fleet for VandyRide, becoming the first university in Tennessee to do so. The transition to these electric vehicle (EV) shuttles are helping Vanderbilt further reduce its direct emissions. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the new shuttles are quieter and smoother than traditional buses, providing a more comfortable and healthier ride for passengers. The fleet consists of six 14-passenger ZEV4 electric shuttles, each with a range of up to 130 miles on a single charge. 

VandyRide, the nighttime shuttle service, continued to provide service on two routes during the 2022-23 academic year. The Gold Route is an express route from the Peabody campus to main campus. The Black Route circles campus clockwise.


Walk and Roll Loop

The university plans to develop a greenway network, building off the greenway concept foundational to FutureVU, throughout campus and a Walk and Roll Loop around the campus edge. This comprehensive, layered and connected mobility ecosystem is aimed at connecting neighborhoods, making campus more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly and opening the campus edge to the surrounding community. 

As part of the Owen Graduate School of Management renovation and addition project, a small parking lot on 21st Avenue between Scarritt Place and Grand Avenue was closed to transform the space into a welcoming entrance along 21st Avenue, as well as a portion of the Walk & Roll Loop. The enhanced ADA accessible pathways, Walk & Roll Loop and green space support the university’s goal to improve connectivity and accessibility throughout its campus and were completed in fall 2022. All ADA parking spaces in the permanently closed lot were relocated to surrounding parking lots and garages. 

In fall 2021, a Walk & Roll Steering Committee refined the alignment of the Walk & Roll Loop. An updated design and alignment plan that outlines future segments of the Walk & Roll Loop was completed. This plan will guide resource allocations to complete segments of the loop and inform design treatments and materials for connectivity and consistency across campus. 


Community engagement has been a founding pillar to the development of FutureVU. Similar to the academic strategic planning process, the land use planning process was open and inclusive, involving individuals from across the community (faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and Nashville community members). The land use plan represents innovative ideas that have emerged through collaborations with the Vanderbilt community. Broad consensus and support of the overarching guiding principles has been a cornerstone of efforts. Engagement has continued as the university embarks on the implementation of FutureVU. 

FY2023 Engagement Statistics



10 key events held, including a WeGo Public Transit Forum, an interactive installation for Park(ing) Day and meetings of the re-envisioned Mobility & Transportation Standing Committee.

academic, research

 As part of Vanderbilt University’s ongoing efforts to enhance the staff experience, a new digital suggestion box managed by the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, is open for ideas from creative university staff members seeking to solve issues they have experienced with systems or processes in their work. Staff gathered to collaborate and tackle ideas submitted as part of the “50 Ideas, 50 Solutions in 50 Days: Innovating for the Next 150 Years of Vanderbilt University initiative. The Mobility and Transportation department staffed two tables and assisted in shaping the ideas that were presented to the Chancellor.

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier with Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting on Sept. 20, 2022.

Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) hosted at Vanderbilt University in March 2023. The annual meeting was led by former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton. Vanderbilt participants included Jonathan Gilligan, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences. The working session titled “The Race Towards Climate Justice” addressed the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on people across the globe.

The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Center for Innovation, launched their first ever Commodore Cup, a design thinking challenge that was funded through one of the Vanderbilt’s Sesquicentennial Grants, which resulted in teams showcasing their ingenuity with proposed sustainability improvements for Vanderbilt’s campus.

The Vanderbilt Green Fund (VGF) awarded select faculty, administrators, and students with funding for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or improve the overall sustainability on campus. Two of the projects in FY2023 were the Peabody Meadow, a native garden with pollinators plants and supports soil health, and the Community Garden, which engages the campus community in growing produce and flowers.

Facilities University (Presented to the class of 20+ people four times per year on FutureVU and sustainability) 

New GIS Construction Map launched to engage Vanderbilt and surround Nashville communities about the latest construction and improvements occurring on campus.