Across the globe, higher education institutions are integrating sustainability initiatives into their strategic plans. Many universities and colleges have signed international agreements such as the Talloires Declaration and the Copernicus Charter for Sustainable Development to further their commitment. When it comes to sustainability, the potential for institutions is limitless. Some examples of ways higher education institutions are going green include:
1-Developing Courses or Degree Programs in Sustainability: To support increasing interests, higher education institutions are developing courses and programs that address different aspects of sustainability. With thousands of offerings available worldwide, some institutions are taking it one step further. Presidio Graduate School, one of the world’s first sustainability universities, offers MBA, MPA, and other degrees with a special focus on sustainability. Their unique approach incorporates sustainability concepts into conventional course content.
2-Creating Campus-Wide Energy Saving Initiatives: A growing number of higher-education campuses have adopted policies to reduce energy consumption. For example, Tufts University has replaced all computer monitors with LCD monitors which use less energy. Some schools are also switching to renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, and geothermal. Other initiatives range from switching lightbulbs and appliances to installing software that can detect unused computers and power them off.
3-Going Paperless: By eliminating paper Institutions are saving on time, resources, and costs - right from the start. With the increasing sophistication of education technology, universities like Western have decided to go digital. By moving their course evaluations online, Western will reduce paper consumption and minimize the time and effort it takes to manually prepare evaluation projects.
4- Finding Innovative Ways to Reduce Vehicle Fuel Usage: Many universities are taking actions to reduce vehicle usage. Some schools are offering free parking passes to faculty members and students who carpool or vanpool. Shuttle buses are becoming more popular as institutions expand into multiple campuses. The UCLA campus shuttles runs on natural gas and can be refueled at stations on-campus.
What are some other ways institutions can go green? What sustainability commitments have your institution made? Comment and let us know.
Chanel M. Sutherland
Marketing Content Specialist, eXplorance