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When colleges and universities start assessing their carbon footprint, the IT department is likely to come under fire by virtue of having oversight of much of the energy consumption on campus. Just how much energy do IT functions account for? At Harvard, for example, Sustainability Office Director Heather Henriksen says that IT functions--from data centers to network equipment to desktops and laptops--make up between 13 and 25 percent of the institution’s peak electrical load. “Research computing needs are set to double in five to six years under business as usual,” she adds.

When budgets are limited and staff time is tight,effectively tracking and reporting on sustainability projects can be challenging. As of late April, about 135 institutions had begun using the new Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) to streamline sustainability work, increase coordination, keep information in order, and allow leaders to assess progress.

At Abilene Christian University in West Texas, technology managers were struggling with an outdated email system. While providing basic service, it lacked advanced functionality and was time-consuming and expensive to maintain. in addition, the full-time email administrator’s position had recently become vacant.

Kevin Roberts, chief information officer at ACU, knew it was time for a change. “We were disenchanted with our current email system,” he says, adding that the system servers were outdated, expensive to maintain, and were running out of space.

Colleges and universities stand to reap the benefits of tens of billions of dollars in federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The legislation will impact everything from student aid and research funding to technology investments and projects planning. Two experts, Kevin Hegarty, vice president and chief financial officer at University of Texas, Austin, and Lander Medlin, executive vice president of APPA, provide valuable insight about the stimulus package in this edited digest of our web seminar.

With Expansive views of the mighty Hudson River and a campus that consistently ranks among the nation’s most beautiful, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, offers students an idyllic setting for learning. Still, like every other school, Marist faces serious threats to its IT network, and its unique campus, with 49 buildings spread across 180 acres, posed special security challenges to its IT staff.

IT WAS THE DISASTER THAT DIDN'T happen, despite the headlines in national and local newspapers throughout the spring of 2008. “College Financial Aid System ‘In Crisis,’” proclaimed USA Today. “No Funds to Lend to 40,000 Students,” blared the Boston Globe. “Student Loans Start to Bypass 2-Year Colleges,” warned The New York Times.

In the fallout of significant budget cuts at public universities, it's difficult to see a bright spot. Programs are being eliminated, salaries are frozen, faculty furloughed, and institutions with a strong history of serving their communities are forced to make bone-deep cuts. There is, however, a solution that can help us navigate through this crisis and we're seeing it at work: private, market-driven institutions of higher education.


SOMETIMES WORDS AND PHRASES CAN trigger images that we use to define things. For example, when I hear the word “sustainable” it often brings to mind a trip I took some years ago. I was among a group of people touring one of the largest working dairy farms in western Connecticut.


MANY PEOPLE HAVE stopped watching the evening news. Why bother? More corporate greed. More stocks plummeting. More people losing their jobs, homes, or life savings. There’s the occasional “nearing the end of the recession” headline thrown in, but budget struggles have caused a number of layoffs on campuses.

If your institution is swimming in appealing candidates for admission each year, more than you could possibly desire, then this article may not be for you.

For all other colleges and universities, the bedrock of a healthy applicant pool usually involves large-scale marketing outreach, often with the assistance of high-volume name buys--known generically as “search.”