Since young people represent our future leaders and most immediate ‘future generation,’ institutions of higher education are charged with leading the way in sustainability education and practice. Marymount College took up that charge in 2009, and defined one of its institutional strategic goals to “Integrate sustainability into our facilities, operations, curriculum, and student experience.” As a result, select faculty and staff developed a Green Print Task Force to research best practices in sustainability and make recommendations to the College. One of the central recommendations was that Marymount establish an Office of Sustainability and hire a full-time Sustainability Officer to lead the effort. In spring 2012, representatives from the Associated Students of Marymount College (ASMC) approved a student sustainability fee to support the creation of the Office of Sustainability.
The Office of Sustainability under the direction of the Sustainability Officer launched in fall 2012 and seeks to develop a holistic and strategic program that will help Marymount College promote a culture of sustainability across the campus, curriculum, and community.
The Sustainability Work Group—an informal group of administrators and key campus decision-makers across different campus divisions and departments—supports the Sustainability Officer in moving the program initiatives forward.
OVERVIEW & MISSION
The Office of Sustainability seeks to communicate, educate, and inspire action to integrate sustainability principles into all aspects of campus life: institutional practices (campus), academics (curriculum), and partnerships (community). Our goals are to (1) observe best practices in campus operations and services; (2) prepare students competent in sustainability principles who are engaged, responsible citizens, and; (3)develop collaborative, innovative solutions to local and global sustainability challenges.
The functions of the Office of Sustainability include:
Engage college-wide stakeholders through the Sustainability Work Group to identify and implement best practices and institutionalize sustainability principles and goals.
Promote a culture of sustainability through coordinating educational and experiential opportunities for all employees and students to get involved in sustainability programming.
- Support sustainability research and academic initiatives as they align with the Educational Master Plan.
- Develop and instruct sustainability-centered courses.
- Support faculty across all disciplines in integrating sustainability themes and projects into their existing courses and learning outcomes.
- Actively interface and mentor sustainability-related student organizations and research initiatives (e.g. senior capstones).
- Encourage cross-campus collaboration and partnerships, bridging academics and operations to use the campus as a living laboratory where students’ sustainability ideas can be practically implemented.
- Interface with local and regional community partners to create joint outreaches and ventures to promote sustainability education and best practices outside of the ‘campus walls.’
- Maintain effective and consistent communications to promote campus sustainability efforts internally and externally. Foster information sharing among campus community members/departments.
Track and report progress with measurable indicators and communicate progress through production of a publically available Annual Sustainability Report.