Stephen F. Austin State University

About

Sustainability on Campus

What is Sustainability?

In Our Common Future published in 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainability as the capacity to "meet the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

A primary goal of sustainability is responsible citizenship with respect to the natural and human communities with whom we interact - locally, nationally and globally. Sustainability initiatives help us avoid critical resource decline by conserving energy and water use, minimizing refuse and waste production, and preserving natural and cultural heritage. Many such initiatives save us money as well. Sustainability efforts also can enhance community livability, blending economic health with civic engagement, cultural diversity, recreational green space and alternative transportation opportunities.

Vision Statement

Introduction

The Stephen F. Austin State University mission statement declares: "We are a comprehensive institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative work and service. Through the personal attention of our faculty and staff, we engage our students in a learner-centered environment and offer opportunities to prepare for the challenges of living in the global community."

One of the most challenging issues the global community faces is to create a sustainable culture that promotes ongoing prosperity without sacrificing the long-term well-being of our planet for future generations. In order to meet the economic needs of an expanding global community with limited resources, society must efficiently use existing and alternative resources while focusing on the development of new technologies that allow for greater efficiency in the production and consumption of goods and services that the global economy demands.

As a member of the higher education community, SFA is in a position to instill a culture of sustainability in a steady stream of society's future leaders; a culture that emphasizes the importance of being responsible environmental stewards. By building a foundation of sustainability principles that will guide the university's programs, and by incorporating those principles and programs into the daily lives of students, faculty and staff, SFA can make a difference now that will extend well into the future.

The purpose of this vision statement is to establish a common understanding of what defines SFA sustainability goals and objectives. SFA believes sustainability is a commitment to using resources efficiently and in a manner that ensures their continued availability. At the same time, however, SFA recognizes its responsibility to consider the financial implications of each program or project before making a recommendation for implementation.

Goals and Objectives

Sustainability, as a goal, is a broad and complicated matter that must be broken down into manageable components and subsequently broken down further into tactical initiatives. As a first step, SFA has identified the following key components as being instrumental to achieving sustainability at its campus: