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EPA To Measure Its Own Environmental Outreach Efforts to Colleges and Universities

Release Date: 6/15/2000
Contact Information: Janet Viniski, 215-814-2999

Janet Viniski, 215-814-2999

PHILADELPHIA – EPA Region III is conducting a follow-up survey of colleges and universities to find out if its environmental outreach efforts have been successful.

The survey has been funded by an EPA National Network for Environmental Studies grant and will be conducted by Kristen Hall, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student.

College and university facility managers will be randomly and anonymously surveyed this summer to determine what actions were taken at their campus as a result of EPA’s compliance outreach efforts.

In May 1999, EPA began an initiative in the mid-Atlantic region to promote awareness and compliance of environmental regulations among colleges and universities. Environmental problems at some colleges and universities include improper handling and disposal of hazardous waste materials; boilers and furnaces that are not in compliance with clean air regulations; inadequate monitoring of underground storage tanks; sewage treatment facilities that are not operating properly; and improper abatement of lead-based paint and asbestos.

Since then, EPA has conducted three compliance workshops – two hosted by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and one hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The EPA Region III office also created a web page for colleges and universities at, has held several meetings with higher education organizations around the country, and has authored articles for their publications.

“We are very interested in determining whether our outreach is helping campuses comply with environmental regulations and obtaining suggestions for improvement,” said Samantha Fairchild, director of the Office of Enforcement, Compliance and Environmental Justice. “This grant will help provide Ms. Hall with valuable surveying experience and will provide us with additional anonymous information about the results of our activities.”

The surveys of facility managers will be conducted by telephone, starting this month. Ms. Hall will interview facility managers on whether there has been any change in the awareness of regulations and routine practices such as how regulated wastes are handled, reporting, recordkeeping, training and information sharing. The results will be compiled and submitted to EPA without naming the facilities. EPA will post the survey and report on the above mentioned web page.

EPA also plans to conduct a separate mail survey to college presidents later this year to determine what leadership actions they might have taken to improve the environmental performance on their campuses. According to Ms. Fairchild, that survey also will be designed to obtain information anonymously.