The University of Virginia School of Architecture has received a grant from leading global hospitality company Hilton Worldwide to support its minor in global sustainability, including the “Global Sustainability” course taught by Phoebe Crisman, associate professor of architecture.
Hilton Worldwide is the first corporate philanthropic partner of the global sustainability program.
The commitment, which extends through 2015 with $80,000 spread over three years, is intended to sustain and grow the “Global Sustainability” course and attract more students to the program. Funding will be used to finance faculty, graduate student and research assistants, course materials, guest lecturers and scholarly conference expenses. Additional opportunities to collaborate on research and create an internship program are also under way.
Over the past four years, both the course and minor have seen tremendous growth, collaborating with more than 50 community partners and enrolling more than 550 students from across the University, from disciplines ranging from nursing to commerce. Waiting lists are forming each semester.
“We are very grateful to Hilton Worldwide for its generous support,” said Kim Tanzer, dean of the School of Architecture. “As the University’s sustainability and international affairs programs and research continue to emerge and grow, we are excited to collaborate with Hilton Worldwide to cultivate future leaders in sustainability and help fulfill the shared mission of both the University and Hilton – to positively influence tomorrow.”
“We are a global company with 4,000 properties across 90 countries, and we understand the impact our business has on the health of the planet,” said Matthew Richardson, global head of architecture, design and construction for Hilton Worldwide. “As the first multi-brand hospitality company to make sustainability a brand standard, we strive to find solutions to global sustainability challenges. The opportunity to support the University of Virginia’s Global Sustainability program is just one more way we are able to innovate and collaborate with others to extend our impact.”
Hilton Worldwide’s focus on sustainability requires that it maintain a responsible management of the natural resources that are essential to its business. The company launched “LightStay,” a proprietary system developed to calculate and analyze sustainability performance, in 2010. LightStay measures multiple utility and operational metrics, including energy, water, carbon, housekeeping, paper product usage, waste, chemical storage, air quality and transportation.
Hilton Worldwide completed the adoption of LightStay across the company's 4,000 properties in 90 countries in 2011, and is now tracking more than 450- million square feet of built space within the system – an amount greater than all the office spaces in New York City and 10 times the number of hotel rooms in Las Vegas.
As part of the LightStay Meeting Calculator, Hilton Worldwide also can provide customers with real-time data on food, travel and operational practices for any of its properties. To date, the company reports $147 million in cumulative savings from efficiency projected for hotels reporting through LightStay. Additionally, Hilton Worldwide has achieved its five-year goal to reduce total waste output by 20 percent, a full two years ahead of schedule.