UCO, Sustainable OKC Strengthen Programs with Official Partnership

June 24, 2014

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, UCO University Relations, 405-974-2121, lhouts@uco.edu

UCO, SUSTAINABLE OKC STRENGTHEN PROGRAMS WITH OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP

A new partnership between the University of Central Oklahoma and Sustainable OKC (SOKC) brings together two of the Oklahoma City metro’s biggest supporters of sustainable development, creating opportunities for greater engagement with the community.

The partnership provides opportunities for Central to further impact sustainable practices in the metropolitan area, while assisting SOKC 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 Central.

Founded in 2005, SOKC 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 SOKC’s 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 SOKC with Central.

Central 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 biodiesel program, recycling initiatives and national recognition as a Green Power Partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Through a memorandum of understanding, SOKC was brought under the UCO Foundation nonprofit umbrella. In addition to providing SOKC with meeting space, the SOKC may 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.           

To learn more about SOKC, visit www.sustainableokc.org. For more information about sustainability at Central, visit www.uco.edu/green.

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