Sustainability is nothing new to us at DePaul; we have found sustainability to be a very important thread woven into DePaul’s institutional fabric. A contemporary version of the centuries old Vincentian question,”What must be done?” was asked during one of four university-wide sustainability roundtable discussions in Spring 2011: “In what ways does the focus on sustainability function to build DePaul’s capacity to be an agent of social transformation?” The now completed Institutional Sustainability Plan (ISP) provides a launching pad to address this important question.
Download the Institutional Sustainability Plan
Download the ISP Cover Letter
The plan is not a blueprint or set of directives, but rather a baseline audit of activity and list of proposed recommendations. It is a living document that will develop with the university as we continue our journey of becoming a leader in sustainability in higher education.
Over the past two years the Sustainability Initiatives Task Force (SITF) has been working diligently to develop this plan to further DePaul’s mission of becoming an agent of social change in regards to sustainability. We are proud to present this ISP, the first of its kind at DePaul. It reflects the work of over 60 people that met numerous times to fulfill Father Holtschneider’s charge to the SITF. In this document you will find a broad overview of sustainability-related activities occurring on campus and a set of recommendations for realizing DePaul’s sustainable learning community.
The SITF will continue its work through AY 2012-13 to better formulate the ideas in the plan. We will solicit comments and reactions to the plan from the university community, engage in discussions on what it would mean to create a sustainable learning community, and test the feasibility of some of the recommendations made in the plan.
The ISP covers a broad range of areas and topics, including curricula, operations, administration, research, and engagement. Auditing activity across such a diverse range of areas requires a sound instrument for collecting, compiling, prioritizing, and evaluating data. The SITF chose the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education as the most appropriate tool for assessing how we – as an institution of higher education – can establish a baseline for future improvement. In many areas the data paints a fairly clear portrait. In other areas, however, we simply have never collected data before.
We are deeply grateful to the members of the SITF and the five working groups who made this possible through their generous service to the university. As you read through the ISP we ask that you consider participating in a network of people working to sharpen, reshape and implement some of the recommendations contained in the report. Over the next year we will be creating the DePaul Sustainability Network (DSN). We welcome participation from across the university community. If you are interested in getting involved in the DSN, please contact Jim Montgomery or Scott Kelley (firstname.lastname@example.org
Please join us in the ISP’s realization and help us be an agent of social transformation through our Catholic, Vincentian, urban mission. We look forward to the challenge ahead as we continue to build our sustainable learning community.
On behalf of the SITF,
James Montgomery, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Studies
Scott Kelley, Office of Mission and Values; Assistant Professor, Religious Studies Department