UVM's Commitment to Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability website details our work bridging academics and operations. But University of Vermont commitment to sustainability goes far beyond the Office of Sustainability's activities. The campus and wider Burlington area community provide fertile ground for faculty, staff, and students to learn together while working towards ecological, social, and economic health.
Here is a hint of what is happening across the university:
- Student leadership and activism toward social and environmental justice is integral to the culture of the Davis Center and the Student Government Association
- Academic programs and research centers supporting sustainability abound, with local and global opportunities for active learning
- Staff are committed to working with students and faculty to incorporate Our Common Ground values and new knowledge into campus operations
Also, check out stories in the "Environment News" section on the University Communications website.
- Activism is embedded in the culture of student government, whose resolutions and campaigns challenge the administration to change practices. See the latest map of student groups.
- Student leadership development often starts with student Eco-Reps, who teach peers ecologically and socially responsible habits in the residence halls.
- Community engagement of an academically rigorous kind is supported through the Community-University Partnerships for Service-Learning, with a focus on sustainability and dozens of courses involved.
- Students address sustainability in courses, internships, and capstone projects through academic departments and individual faculty initiatives in the Environmental Program, Community Development & Applied Economics, School of Business, Engineering & Math, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, and the Institute for Global Sustainability.
- Since 2009 a Sustainability Faculty Fellows program trains faculty to infuse sustainability and systems thinking into at least 15 new courses per year.
- Research centers contributing to local and global sustainability include the Center for Rural Studies, the Complex Systems Center, and the Transportation Research Center.
- Working in partnership, the Offices of the President, Provost and the Faculty Senate developed an Envisioning Environment at UVM work group in Fall 2012. This cross-college faculty group was formed and charged with conducting an inventory of the strengths of environmental education and research at UVM; identifying our comparative advantage in this realm; evaluating our current organizational structure related to environmental education and research; assessing “best practices” nationally and internationally; and developing several alternative models for how we might organize, support and maximize this work at the University of Vermont. The group was Co-Chaired by Professor Stephanie Kaza and Professor Beverly Wemple, both of whom are accomplished environmental scholars. A final report of the group's findings were delivered in December 2012. The report can be found here.
- A cadre of staff in facilities with sustainability goals of their own grew in 1996-2008 with the Environmental Council, connecting them with faculty and students. Departments regularly involved include Capital Planning & Management, Campus Planning, Facilities Design & Construction, Physical Plant, Custodial Services, Transportation & Parking, with Environmental Safety, Recycling, and Energy all playing key roles.
- Service-learning courses and the STARS program support a culture of continuous improvement.
- Green practices are disseminated informally on campus. Staff Council’s Employee Environment Committee is looking at options for a formal program that could be maintained reliably over time.
Gund Tea on September 12, 2013 (RETN)