As a leader in higher education, you can inspire your campus to chart a new course on climate.


3 Ways Higher Ed Can Inspire Climate Action

By Sharon Chen
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As leaders in higher education, it is our responsibility to ensure that our students and communities act today to protect our world for future generations. By integrating sustainability into three different facets of higher ed, we can inspire transformative climate action.

1. Students: By integrating sustainability into student life (college curricula, dining halls, and sporting events, for example) with simple actions such as recycling, higher education is making sustainability simple and achievable. These are the first steps in developing a greener mindset that students will continue long after they leave campus.

2. Research and Discovery: College campuses are often incubators for our climate solutions. Academics, researchers, and scientists are leading the way on cutting edge research and development. By encouraging sound science and a spirit of discovery, higher ed can lead on climate action.

3. Operations: Colleges and universities operate at large scales, with significant purchasing power. This influence can be used to encourage vendors and suppliers to go green. By providing sustainable food, housing, and services to thousands of people, campuses can set examples to their surrounding communities. 

Penn State's Sustainability Institute integrates sustainability around campus

Antonia Jaramillo | The Daily Collegian | February 4, 2016

With the increasing attention surrounding environmental issues nowadays, Penn State faculty and staff have been trying to find ways to teach students to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly in the classroom and in their daily lives.

Penn State’s Sustainability Institute was founded only three years ago in order to integrate sustainability at Penn State, Denice Wardrop said.

Wardrop, the director of the Sustainability Institute, works with faculty and staff to help merge sustainability in and out of the classroom.

“We make others’ lives easier,” Wardrop said.

Working with big organizations like Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon or student greek life, the Sustainability Institute provides support and materials to inform organizations about sustainability, Doug Goodstein said.

Goodstein, the student programs coordinator of the Sustainability Institute, works with Student Activities, Residence Life, Educational Equity, Global Programs, the Office of Physical Plant and Housing and Food Services to find new sustainability projects.

“The goal is to engage students to become more environmentally aware,” Goodstein said.

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