by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

The April issue of the College Planning & Management is once again focused on sustainability this year and provides a wealth of information and examples on green building and sustainable campus planning.

Topics covered include education for sustainability at UC San Diego (“Learning Green” by Rex Graham); repurposed materials for buildings at Johnson State College (“A New Use for Old Wood Bleachers” by Tonya West); and green IT at campuses across the country (“IT Is Easy Being Green” by Rhonda Morin).

Tony Cortese and I also had the opportunity to submit an article titled “The Commitment to Change” on the importance of leadership from senior administrators (in addition to all of the tremendous and necessary leadership from students, faculty, and staff) in really embedding a sustainability perspective into the culture of the institution.

In it we discuss how the 675 (now 684) signatory presidents of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment are demonstrating the leadership-by-example needed on the institutional level, but also for the higher education sector as whole, to create a low-carbon, sustainable future.  We stress the importance of continued active involvement and leadership by presidents and other senior administrators after the piece of paper is signed.  Last year, members of the ACUPCC Steering Committee developed a document called Leading Profound Change to lays out strategies and examples for doing just that.  Finally, we touch on how the ACUPCC, while nominally focused on the challenge of climate disruption, inevitably brings institutions to confront the broader and inter-related sustainability challenges – and how higher education’s leadership is vital to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society.

It is great to see the focus on sustainability continue to grow in these types of professional periodicals.  Of course, we’re still working towards the day when we won’t need ‘green issues’ because planning, management, and professional development will have a sustainability perspective as a matter of course, but these are important and forward-looking steps towards that day.