A year ago, a University committee created at Chancellor Joel E. Anderson’s request began the work of raising awareness and taking actions to promote healthy environments, economies, and societies. What has happened this first year?
Members began meeting in January 2009 with the goals of raising awareness and improving recycling rates and energy efficiency and organized the effort by identifying sustainability-related activities already happening on campus, creating a logo, writing a mission statement, and developing a website and social media sites at Facebook and Ning to help inform, connect, and educate.
The Committee also researched sustainability indicators for colleges and universities. The committee completed a six-month intensive self-study of sustainability performance at UALR in the areas of education and research, operations, and administration and finance. The self-study revealed many strengths at UALR, all of which have been noted on the UALR sustainability website.
The self-study also helped the committee identify several opportunities for improvement and will guide the work of the committee for years to come.
The committee sponsored Campus Sustainability Day, Oct. 21, 2009, featuring a Green Jobs Fair, local organic foods, information display tables, and a broadcast of a nationwide webcast.
In addition, the committee submitted a proposal for the creation of an interdisciplinary sustainability studies minor. The sustainability studies minor is open to students from any major and consists of two core courses and the selection of four electives from a list of over 25 sustainability-related courses already offered at UALR.