Progress towards environmental sustainability is made through a series of steps. The adoption of our Environmental Sustainability Mission Statement and the subsequent development of a Sustainability Action Plan have given us a framework and a roadmap of next steps including 44 specific tasks of varying priorities. Here are some efforts and ideas that are in their early stages.
- We have committed to develop a Climate Action Plan to lay out a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While deemed the highest priority in the SAP, this has been deferred, pending completion of a few critical preliminary studies.
- We have initiated a Master Planning process. This has great value to the institution; from a sustainability standpoint, we will be more focused as we envision climate action proposals.
- We have initiated an Energy Management Audit, including a review of the potential for generating renewable energy on and near campus (solar, wind, etc).
- We have conducted a water-consumption audit and are now working to define a program to implement recommendations. Water savings of more than 1 million gallons per year are expected.
- We have committed to increasing the base of knowledge about environmental sustainability–theory and practices–among our adult population, so our faculty and staff can be better teachers and role models.
- We are exploring the development of a farming-themed course, possibly as a Capstone Science/English interdisciplinary course with a hands-on co-requisite.
- On the horizon, we have many more–such as reviewing pesticide use, building construction practices, and cleaning practices, and displaying art works that deal with themes of sustainability.