To the Daily:
I attended the Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment Town Hall Meeting on Thursday night (“U” officials talk campus sustainability at town hall meeting, 1/29/2010). While already being a leader in certain areas for being ‘green’ and sustainable, it is fantastic that the University is planning ahead to reach new heights. Not only is it a great idea and push for sustainability, but it is also bringing together the student body as well as the faculty and staff.
There are about seven teams comprised of one faculty or staff member and the rest are undergraduate or graduate students. This setup allows students to express their ideas and not worry about the project ending once they graduate, because a faculty member will still remain to advance the initiative. And the timeline is short, which is good as that means the report won’t drag on for years.
But the design of the project does raise some concern. The concern is spanning it into a new year. Teams are mostly comprised of students, and with students graduating or others transferring, the remaining people may be left with quite an agenda to finish in the fall. In addition, there is no plan as of now to push the ideas forward after a report is made. That responsibility lies with the Executive Council leaving the teams and other committees out of the final decision process and future implementations of the policies.
Overall, the project looks like it will have a positive outcome. And if they address the concerns and issues surrounding the project better than they did the questions at the town meeting (much was left to be desired in the responses there, maybe I am simply accustomed to the planned replies offered at presidential town hall debates), then we can hope to see a future University that’s a national leader in higher education sustainability practices.