President Larry Penley Names Director to Manage Colorado State University’s Goal to be Carbon Neutral by 2020

Note to Editors: Aaron Levi is in Washington, D.C., with five of CSU’s top environmental scientists who will discuss "America’s Research Universities: Paving the Ways for a Sustainable Energy Future through Collaboration, Commercial Innovation and Workforce Education" with policymakers at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A photo of Levi is available with the news release at

Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley has appointed Aaron Levi, formerly his chief of staff, as managing director of Climate Initiatives and Carbon Assets to manage the university’s plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2020 and oversee other universitywide environmental efforts.

Levi will work closely with vice presidents, campus departments, government officials, faculty and the President’s Environment and Sustainability Committee to ensure that the university effectively meets its goal. As operations manager, he’ll work collaboratively with faculty, staff and students to develop a long-term strategy and track the university’s sustainability and energy management plans. Penley and university leadership are committed to ensuring Colorado State remains a national leader in addressing environmental sustainability issues, including driving the "new energy economy" and workforce development, which means resources at the university are being shifted and the chief of staff position will not be filled.

Penley announced this fall that the university would be carbon neutral by 2020.

"As part of Colorado State University’s overall environmental efforts, our goal to be carbon neutral by 2020 will no doubt require addressing some significant challenges. Appointing Aaron – a successful project manager in his own right – to manage this process will ensure our university properly navigates through the process of becoming carbon neutral," Penley said. "As I said in my Fall Address, this is not a PR gimmick. It may be challenging, but Colorado State is certainly up to the challenge. We are confident that Colorado State’s efforts will yield valuable research that will improve conservation strategies, increase our energy independence and bolster a workforce trained to successfully compete in tomorrow’s new energy economy."

Levi will work closely with the academic side of the university’s climate commitment, led by Ron Sega, vice president for Energy, the Environment and Applied Research. He also will ensure the university completes its prior climate commitments, including the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education STARS pilot project.

Colorado State has received international attention for its environmental sustainability and clean and renewable energy solutions – everything from filtering pollutants through wetlands and eliminating trays in cafeterias to reduce waste to conducting global research on clean and renewable energy alternatives and sustainability. In addition, in July, the university announced the new School of Global Environmental Sustainability, which will streamline all the university’s environmental offerings to ensure that every student is properly prepared for the emerging green workforce.

Most recently, Newsweek magazine praised Colorado State as one of the nation’s greenest universities, and the Chronicle of Higher Education featured CSU’s Live Green Team – a group of students who led the sorting of recyclables for the Democratic National Convention, helping divert trash from the landfill. In September, Denmark and Spain recognized CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory with the 2008 Royal Award for Sustainable Technology Transfer.