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Environmental Management Program

Vanderbilt University is subject to numerous government regulations that protect the environment. These regulations come not only from the federal government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); environmental rules are also issued by the State of Tennessee and the City of Nashville.  

VU keeps track of all these rules through the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS).   The Vanderbilt EMS tracks environmental obligations, monitors environmental performance, and records environmental activities at all VU locations, including off-campus buildings, off-site medical clinics, and buildings managed by Vanderbilt Real Estate.

The Vanderbilt EMS includes:

Vanderbilt’s EMS also tracks items that are ‘above and beyond’ what is required by environmental regulations, such as:

Why does Vanderbilt have an Environmental Management System (EMS)?

First and foremost, it makes good sense from an operational point of view. The EMS catalogs baseline environmental data from all corners of Vanderbilt. That data can then be used in environmental reporting, to measure effectiveness and efficiency of environmental programs, in establishing sustainability goals, and in establishing a system of continuous improvement.

Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Council on Education (ACE) asked colleges and universities to establish and maintain an EMS. This request was issued in 2003 as a joint letter from ACE and EPA . Most importantly, the EPA specifically asked Vanderbilt to establish an EMS as part of the 2007 environmental peer-audit program for colleges and universities located in Tennessee.

The EMS helps Vanderbilt fulfill the obligations it has made through the VU Environmental Commitment Statement and the VU Environmental Health & Safety Commitment Statement.  The Environmental Advisory Committee assists VU administrators in meeting the university’s environmental obligations as well as providing oversight of sustainability programs.