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Sustainability, transportation and environmental efforts highlighted in FutureVU FY2023 Progress Report

Posted by on Friday, March 22, 2024 in FutureVU, News.

What you need to know: 

  • FutureVU is the overarching campus planning process in support of Vanderbilt’s Academic Strategic Plan. 
  • The annual report provides an overview of progress around the core themes of connectivity and community enhancement, diversity and inclusion, accessibility, environmental sustainability and the preservation of the university’s historic, park-like setting. 
  • Highlights of the report are below, and the full report is on the FutureVU webpage 
  • FutureVU’s FY23 annual report provides an overview of the comprehensive campus planning initiative’s progress during the 2022–23 academic year. 

“We are proud of the progress that FutureVU has achieved over the past year. From transformative capital projects to initiatives promoting belonging, sustainability, accessibility and more, we are steadily advancing toward our vision for Vanderbilt’s future,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “With ongoing projects and new endeavors on the horizon, we remain committed to realizing the full potential of FutureVU and ensuring that Vanderbilt continues to thrive as a leading academic institution.” 

Major highlights of the report 

  • Completion of two transformative capital projects—the Owen Graduate School of Management renovation and addition and The Broadview at Vanderbilt, the first P3 project.  
  • Groundbreaking of the historic Vandy United construction projects in the Frist Athletics Village. 
  • Development of an official tree replacement policy to ensure the Vanderbilt University Arboretum tree canopy is preserved whenever building projects are initiated or trees die naturally.  
  • More than 60 trees planted in the VU Arboretum, bringing the total canopy count to more than 6,500 trees. 
  • The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), led by former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, was hosted by Vanderbilt University to address the disproportionate effects of climate crisis on people across the globe. 

Additional highlights in the report 


Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

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


The planning and design of the transformation of Jess Neely Drive occurred in FY2023. This project is a part of a series of Vandy United capital projects. When completed, Jess Neely will promote a pedestrian and bicycle-centric environment where the Vanderbilt community can collaborate and enjoy the Frist Athletics Village.  


In FY2023, Campus Dining partnered with ReusePass to continue a reusable container program. ReusePass offers a straightforward 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 takeout, 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. 


An official tree replacement policy was developed to ensure that Vanderbilt’s tree canopy is preserved whenever building projects are initiated or when trees die naturally. The 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.  


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

There were 3,030 rides provided as part of Mobility Rides program, compared with 2,517 rides in FY2022. The program is a joint project of Equal Access, Public Safety and the Transportation and Mobility Office to provide service using electric golf carts to students, faculty and staff with medical or accessibility needs who have registered and are approved.  


A key component of the FutureVU initiative is connecting with VU and the surrounding Nashville communities. In FY2023, the Facilities department conducted 25 tours of the Power Plant and 40 tours of the campus and arboretum.  

The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, launched the first-ever Commodore Cup, a design challenge that was funded through one of Vanderbilt’s Sesquicentennial Grants and managed a new digital suggestion box for staff members to submit ideas on how to solve issues they have experienced with systems or processes in their work. The Facilities and MoveVU teams were heavily involved in this initiative.

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