University establishes Willamette Sustainability Institute
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.
The Sustainability Council
The Sustainability Council is a representative body comprised of faculty, classified staff, administrators, and students from the College of Liberal Arts, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, School of Law, and the Graduate School of Education. The Council’s charge is:
to promote interdisciplinary study related to sustainability and the environment;
to promote sustainability and environmental literacy in our curricula; to promote activities that enhance our awareness of sustainability and the environment;
to promote strategic initiatives that will have the effect of creating a sustainable culture in University activities;
and to promote sustainable best practices in the design of new buildings and the renovation of existing buildings.
Since 2005 the Sustainability Council’s accomplishments and responsibilities include:
- Annual All-Campus Sustainability Retreat (2006-2010) typically averaging 50-60 participants from all sectors of campus and all four schools, which utilizes broad-based input and working groups to determine initiatives and outcomes.
- Sustainability Mini-Grants - $500.00 for tangible, visible projects. Past projects have included The Bike Shop, TIUA Community Garden, Climate Change Symposium, Carbon Fund for University Travel, Solar Power Workshop, Compost Cat.
- Coordinating and hosting educational and community events including Sustainability Day and Sustainability Month, as well as speakers and community service projects.
- Creating and annually updating the Willamette Sustainability Indicators Report.
- Creating and annually updating the Willamette Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.
- Coordinating responses and data gathering for national surveys e.g., Sierra Club, Sustainable
- Endowments/Green Schools, National Wildlife Federation.
- Forming the President’s Climate Change Agreement Working Group and recommendations for progress towards climate neutrality.