Meghna Tare was hired in 2010 as the University of Texas at Arlington's first sustainability director. Photo courtesy of Meghna Tare.

Feb. 16, 2015 

Meghna Tare has blazed a new trail as the University of Texas at Arlington’s first sustainability director. Now Tare hopes to expand the university’s reach as the head of the campus’s new Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact.

In the last five years, the Office of Sustainability has increased the campus’s eco-friendliness with the implementation of a car sharing program, a community garden and campus wide composting. In addition, the office helped develop The Green at College Park, a nearly 5-acre green space that diverts storm water runoff, and created UTA's first Global Reporting Initiative report to quantify the campus’s green initiatives. 

The Green at College Park. Courtesy of UTA.

Now with the Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact, Tare hopes to channel UTA’s resources into tackling some of North Texas’s toughest environmental problems, such as improving air quality, conserving water and increasing public transportation. 

“North Texas is a growing community and UTA’s impact is significant.” she said. “We’re a great resource being an education institution.”

According to Tare, UTA’s nearly 48,000 students and more than 5,000 staff members are the institution’s biggest assets.

She envisions supporting both faculty and community leaders with sustainability projects by providing mentoring, as well as rounding up help for research and development. 

“We have expertise in operational sustainability as well. We’ve been recycling since 2006 and can help other campuses establish their own recycling and composting programs.”

Tare said UTA has already developed partnerships with outside entities, such as the North Texas Central Council of Governments. Her office recruited UTA communications professors and students to create public service announcements for its Clean Air North Texas program.

Below, Watch an Air North Texas public service announcement by UTA.

Going forward, one of the first tasks of the Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact will be locating a grant writer who can help those with sustainable projects obtain funding. 

They will also create an advisory council made up of internal and external stakeholders.

“This is a collaboration. This is a joint effort,” Tare emphasized.

Tare adds that she wants to expand UTA’s sustainable curriculum. Currently UTA offers an undergraduate minor in environmental and sustainability studies and a graduate program in earth and environmental science. Within the first two years of the Institute, she wants to develop a certificate program in sustainability that would provide training for students planning green careers and as well as professionals in the community who want to stay up to date. 

In addition, there are plans to increase her department’s visibility. Currently the Office of Sustainability is housed in a small room tucked away on an upper level in Preston Hall. They will eventually move the institute to a more accessible and larger location.

“We have come a long way as a campus and it’s time to broaden our horizons and make an impact on the community as well.”

Below, watch Green Source DFW's video about UTA’s award-winning compost.

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