Institutional Restructuring of Sustainability at Willamette
Sustainability is not merely a set of "best practices," it is central to the future of humankind – not only the natural world that sustains life, but also the world’s interconnected communities and economies.
To advance sustainability in programs and operations, the Willamette Sustainability Institute brings together several university entities and efforts under the direction of the Sustainability Executive Committee. This restructuring combines the Center for Sustainable Communities, the Sustainability Council and the Zena Advisory Committee into a single, focused entity.
Chaired by Marlene Moore, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, the committee will hire a full-time director to coordinate administrative, academic and communication initiatives related to sustainability programs.
Among other responsibilities, the director will manage Zena Forest and Farm; the university’s 305-acre research forest and student-operated farm offer distinctive opportunities for students, faculty and staff to apply the university motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born,” while pursuing research across academic disciplines.
By combining efforts devoted to sustainability into an institute with a director and faculty-led advisory board, the university will strengthen sustainability in curricular and co-curricular offerings across all schools.
Center for Sustainable Communities
The Center for Sustainable Communities reflects Willamette University’s commitment to fostering resilient, prosperous, and healthy communities that strike a sustainable balance between resource use, the needs of the environment, and the social, cultural, and economic well-being of their citizens. The Center acts as a catalyst and facilitator to bring together the expertise of faculty, passion of students, and knowledge and needs of the community to advance the research, teaching, and practice of sustainability across the region and globe. The social and ecological dilemmas of the 21st Century requires the University to understand that academic excellence in contemporary liberal education must incorporate the rigorous and interdisciplinary analysis of retaining and building sustainable and resilient social, cultural, and ecological systems.
The Center for Sustainable Communities
- sponsors and hosts conferences, symposia, and lectures critically examining issues of social, ecological, and economic sustainability;
- supports faculty and student sustainability research and curriculum development;
- develops partnerships with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and the business community that advance the understanding and practice of sustainability; and
- enhances the opportunities of students, faculty, and citizens for cross-sectoral engagement.
All of these activities are designed to enhance Willamette University’s central mission of research and teaching, advance the critical understanding and adoption of sustainability, and demonstrate the fundamental role higher education must play in resolving the fundamental issues of the 21st Century.