What do “sustainable development” and “sustainability education” mean at UVM?
At UVM, all undergraduates are required to take a course that teaches students about sustainability. The Faculty Senate’s Sustainability Curriculum Review Committee oversees the sustainability general education requirement; parallel committees exist for the diversity, writing, and other requirements. The Faculty Senate's website describes UVM’s curricular commitment to sustainability at UVM as follows:
“UVM's vision for sustainability embraces the goal of educating all of its students to understand and contribute to the sustainability of human society. That is, we recognize that the pursuit of ecological, social, and economic vitality must come with the understanding that the needs of the present be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This language draws from the United Nations' definition of “sustainable development” and is widely used globally.
The Faculty Senate website further explains that sustainability education is about “knowledge of social, ecological, and economic dimensions of complex problems; developing skills in rigorous and complex discussions about solutions; negotiating multiple values; and analyzing their own experiences and actions.”
What does the Office of Sustainability do?
Using the STARS framework, database and reporting tool, the three staff members of the OoS work together to advance the integration of sustainability into University academics, engagement, operations and policy. Each staff member assumes primary responsibility for making sure one of each of the three major functions of the office is on track: 1) advancing sustainability goals and initiatives; 2) providing strategic support for approved initiatives, and 3) fostering a culture of sustainability. All three staff members contribute to each of the functions, as well as to administrative tasks.