Sustainability Practice and Education on University Campuses and Beyond

Approach to Developing a Sustainability Office at the University Level

Author(s): Daryl M. Pierson, Samiah N. Alqahtani, Rachel Muelle and Carol J. Miller

Pp: 1-28 (28)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681084718117010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The process of effectively advancing sustainability on a university campus takes a coordinated effort achieved through an institutional commitment. Wayne State University (WSU) embarked upon a campus-wide initiative to develop a report that would guide the institution toward achieving the triple-bottom line of environmental, economic, and social sustainability. A multi-disciplinary group made a series of recommendations that would usher WSU forward in sustainable best practices within the campus environment. Of singular importance among these recommendations was the call for a dedicated office that would have oversight of University sustainability initiatives. Nearly four years following the initial report, WSU established an Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS) charged with coordinating the University’s efforts to move toward an environmentally-friendly institution. The pathway leading to opening the OCS was long and arduous with various results yielding successes and challenges. The office structure played an important role in the scope of activities that the sustainability office could become engaged. Importantly, initial administrative support became tepid through leadership changes slowing attempts to gain traction on campuswide initiatives. Through continuous attempts at campus engagement OCS has been able to build a foundation that would help solidify its standing as a campus resource while proving to be a valuable means of developing worthwhile sustainability programming.

Keywords: Administration, Alternative-transportation, Campus, Community, Detroit, Education, Energy, Environment, Facility, Fund, Outreach, Recycling, Research, Stormwater, Students, Sustainability, University, Urban-garden, Waste, Watershed.

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