Environmental Sustainability at CI
By Ashish Vaidya, Dean of Faculty, and Deborah Wylie, Associate Vice President, Operations, Planning & Construction
In the fall of 2007, President Richard Rush requested that the campus convene a Sustainability Task Force to address the issue of how we can infuse sustainability throughout campus life and elevate sustainability as a core CI value. During the academic year the Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, recommended that environmental sustainability:
- be addressed as part of the update to the University’s Strategic Plan
- involve a partnership across divisions (and especially engage students) as a key to this effort
After a careful analysis of the internal and external environment, the University Planning and Coordinating Council (UPACC) adopted Environmental Sustainability as a strategic initiative in fall 2008. The Task Force was charged with developing measurable objectives, action plans, resource implications, and assigning responsible parties for accountability.
The Task Force recommended that the University adopt the following broad set of goals:
- To engage students at all levels with sustainability concepts and issues through their formal and informal learning
- To enhance faculty, staff, community, and regional engagement and experience with respect to sustainability
- To minimize environmental and socio-economic impacts of University operations, practices, policies, and procedures, and to integrate sustainability into University strategic, facilities, operations, and financial planning
In addition, the Task Force recommended that the campus reference the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. It is designed to advance sustainability in all sectors of higher education, from education and research to operations and administration; to establish a common standard of measurement for sustainability in higher education; to facilitate collaboration and information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance; and to build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.
The University continues to promote and enhance campus sustainability through several programs, many of them highlighted on the University’s Going Green Web site: www.csuci.edu/sustainability.com. Some of these programs are:
- Design and Construction Standards
- Energy management program
- Reduction in use of potable water
- Lighting efficiency upgrades
- Poster Session at the President’s Annual Celebration of Excellence event
- CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) Program.