It’s exciting to see Colleges and Universities in all regions of the United States pursuing sustainability. They are doing this to become more future-relevant and desirable, in addition to being more operationally efficient. They are funding projects and making progress in several areas, especially in energy/buildings, waste/recycling, academics, purchasing and community engagement.
We have learned that schools that tie together multiple areas of sustainability into a comprehensive, holistic plan or roadmap tend to be more successful — at getting buy-in, funding initiatives, and achieving results. They also tend to enjoy more of the full benefits of “going green.”
What are these benefits?
- Stronger recruitment and retention
- Enhanced reputational value
- Leveraged academics to solve important societal issues
- Enhanced curriculum providing students with required knowledge/skills for future jobs
- Operating cost savings
- Healthier work environment that attracts/retains faculty and staff
- Stronger, win-win school-community relationships
It’s easy to see why there is interest in sustainability, even with all the other priorities and challenges higher education is facing. It can also be daunting, because sustainability is complex and rapidly evolving. It helps to have organizations like AASHE and Sustainametrics to connect the dots and provide support. » Read more: Why and How Higher Education is Embracing Sustainability