MIT to Develop 'Virtual Campus' to Assist Colleges, Universities with EPA Compliance

By Taylor, Ronald A. | Black Issues in Higher Education, June 21, 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

MIT to Develop 'Virtual Campus' to Assist Colleges, Universities with EPA Compliance

Taylor, Ronald A., Black Issues in Higher Education

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently agreed to settle a federal environmental case for a total of $550,000 in an action that may provide low-cost pollution control solutions and free anti-pollution guidance to resource-strapped colleges and universities.

While the $150,000 fine is not the largest on record for a college environmental case, the other part of the case -- $400,000 for a state-of-the-- art Web site - is the answer for small schools that need to cope with the increased antipollution vigilance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Once it is installed on MIT's Internet site, the still-to-be-named page will be similar to a "Dungeons and Dragons" game, but instead of rescuing maidens or battling dragons, the Internet surfer will roam a virtual campus, complete with environmental land mines. With a click of the mouse, the user can open up one of the hazardous waste hot spots and be told how to handle it.

As part of the agreement, MIT will develop a computer-based virtual campus compliance assistance tool intended to help universities and colleges across the nation comply with environmental laws. The virtual campus will address compliance in eight featured areas, including a laboratory, auto and grounds maintenance department, and a 90-day hazardous waste storage area. The Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence, a not-for-profit group of New England colleges and universities that focuses on ways of mitigating the environmental impacts of campus laboratory research activities, will host the virtual campus on its Web site, .

MIT officials view the novel approach as a way of sharing their expertise with other institutions.

"Rather than taking a Band-Aid approach that would only temporarily address legal compliance, MIT has designed an environmental, health and safety management system that uses automation technology and a systems integration approach to provide information to the environmental service and oversight groups at the Institute, while preserving the independence of research in labs and centers," says Jamie Keith, MIT's managing director for environmental programs and risk management and senior counsel.


Currently, when a school is found to be out of compliance with federal rules, the outcome is usually a stiff fine and an expensive remediation program. If a school can discover its problems ahead of the EPA inspector, the outcome can be cheaper, less troublesome and less of a public relations headache.

Many campuses are working to redesign these systems and improve their environmental performance, but progress and trends are difficult to define. Up until now there has not been a tool to measure environmental performance in higher education, according to the preamble to the National Wildlife Federation's landmark study on the relationship of the nation's colleges and universities to environmentalism.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

MIT to Develop 'Virtual Campus' to Assist Colleges, Universities with EPA Compliance


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?