Sustainability on Campus
- Campus Sustainability Day
- Campus Sustainability Day
- Campus Sustainability Day
- T.E.A.M. at Campus Sustainability Day
- T.E.A.M. Recycle
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.
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:
- Engage students, faculty and staff across diverse cultures to be active partners in the development and implementation of campus sustainability initiatives.
- Encourage partnership opportunities with the greater university community on sustainability initiatives.
- Develop a sustainability stewardship program that educates, promotes participation, and rewards the efforts and accomplishments of deserving participants.
- Pursue a comprehensive waste stream management program focused on source reduction and landfill diversion.
- Establish procurement policies and practices that don't rely exclusively on initial cost, but rather take into account other factors such as total cost of ownership (life-cycle costing) and environmental and local impact (Energy Star, produced locally, etc.). Note that any procurement policy adopted must be consistent with documented Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board or other regulatory agency guidelines.
- Pursue a campus transportation plan that encourages and supports alternative forms of transportation for students, faculty and staff for commuting, work-related and transient purposes.
- At a minimum, SFA will adhere to all applicable local, state and federal regulations regarding chemical procurement, storage, use and disposition, including, but not limited to, those enforced by the
- Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
- Pursue dining practices that minimize waste and take advantage of locally grown produce.
- Develop a comprehensive utility management program (electricity, natural gas, water) that maximizes conservation of natural resources, ensures optimal mechanical efficiency and utilizes inexpensive available sources to fund conservation projects.
- Incorporate "green" thinking into all new projects and renovations that encourage renewable energy sources, maintenance-free components, maximum insulating efficiency and use of recycled materials and take advantage of environmental factors that help conservation efforts.
- Develop meaningful performance metrics that help benchmark, monitor and track sustainability objectives and accomplishments.
- Provide opportunities for identified campus sustainability leaders to learn about sustainability best practices.
- Encourage faculty to incorporate sustainability principles into their academic disciplines and across disciplines. Incorporate sustainability principles into all areas of student affairs, including residence life.