Given the breadth and depth of expertise throughout an institution of higher learning, sustainability considerations should be incorporated into all facets of operations, including academics. Higher education institutions have a moral responsibility to lead by example in diminishing, to the greatest extent feasible, our footprint and negative impact on the environment. Doing so will help to secure a healthy and productive planet for future generations.
On August 26, 2008, Pace’s Sustainability Committee held its inaugural meeting. Commissioned by Provost Geoffrey Brackett, the group includes representatives from diverse sectors throughout the University — students, faculty, associate deans, transportation, dining services, facilities management, purchasing, auxiliary services, and senior administration. Provost Brackett appointed co-chairs Professor Michelle Land, Pace Academy and Dr. Richard Schlesinger, Dyson College to lead the Committee.
To most effectively address sustainability matters throughout all of Pace’s campuses, seven subcommittees were formed to collect baseline data, develop goals and objectives, and begin implementing exciting changes and new initiatives at Pace in specific areas within the University and general community. In order to leverage the breadth of expertise within (and without) the University, associate members, including alumni, were invited to serve on these subcommittees. Subcommittees meet at least twice per semester and report to the standing Sustainability Committee at the bi-semester meetings. The subcommittees are:
- Energy & Water
- Green Building & Landscaping
- Recycling & Waste Reduction (includes Dining Services)
- Campus Culture & Academics
- Student Sustainability
- A University-wide Sustainability Policy has been drafted;
- A portal website /sustainability has been created to keep the community up to date on the Committee’s initiatives;
- The graduation pledge of social and environmental responsibility will be implemented for the first time at Pace during 2009 commencements;
- Facility upgrades are underway;
- A waste stream audit will be conducted during the summer of 2009 and into the fall semester; and
- Incorporating sustainability in to the curriculum will be the focus of the 2009-2010 Convocation and throughout the academic year.