EDMOND — A new partnership between the University of Central Oklahoma and Sustainable OKC brings together two of the metro area’s biggest supporters of sustainable development, creating opportunities for greater engagement with the community.
The partnership provides opportunities for UCO to further impact sustainable practices in the metropolitan area, while assisting Sustainable OKC with administrative and operational processes.
“I like to think of the partnership as almost our responsibility as the largest metropolitan university in Oklahoma. It’s not about ‘what does SOKC bring to UCO,’ it’s about ‘what can UCO bring to sustainability in the metro?’” said Tim Tillman, sustainability coordinator at UCO.
Founded in 2005, Sustainable OKC promotes community sustainability by facilitating grassroots action, fostering awareness of sustainability and serving as an informational and networking resource in the Oklahoma City area.
The group defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Tillman joined the board three years ago and now serves as its president. Noting the paperwork and fees required for the volunteer-run organization to keep its nonprofit status, Tillman saw an opportunity for Sustainable OKC with the university.
UCO has a long history of leadership in sustainable and “green” practices, including being the first university in the state to use 100 percent wind energy, an on-site bio-diesel program, recycling initiatives and national recognition as a Green Power Partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a news release.
Through a memorandum of understanding, Sustainable OKC was brought under the UCO Foundation nonprofit umbrella. In addition to providing the group with meeting space, the arrangement allows Sustainable OKC to use the foundation’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
“UCO provides a stable administrative presence, as well as a streamlined operations process, that allows SOKC to pursue the goals stated rather than spending so much board time on administration. UCO’s sustainability and ‘green’ initiatives are in lockstep with Sustainable OKC, so the relationship between the two is a natural one,” Tillman said.
For more information, go to www.sustainableokc.org or www.uco.edu/green.