UNC has been nationally commended for its environmental initiatives, but some community members are calling for more transparency.


In 2010, former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp announced the university would stop using coal by the end of the decade. 

2020 is now less than a month away, but the campus continues to use coal power after that pledge was abandoned in 2016. Later that year, Chancellor Carol Folt unleashed a new campaign: the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative. 

Today, some people at UNC are concerned the administration isn’t taking the necessary steps to meet these goals once again.

Three Zeros has three goals to reduce the university’s carbon footprint: zero net water, net waste and net greenhouse gas emissions. Senior environmental studies major Olivia Corriere said when she interned at the Three Zeros office in 2018, she helped develop an incremental plan for the initiative’s goals. 

That strategy was never published. 

Corriere has sat outside South Building, UNC’s main administrative office, nearly every Friday morning since October. She’s joined by a few of her peers and a large sign that says “Where’s the Three Zeros plan, UNC?” 

“Because there’s no centralized plan or public statement of what they’re going to do, no one knows what they’re working on or is able to hold them accountable for working toward those Three Zeros goals,” she said during one week’s demonstration with three other students.