Innovation and Integration in Sustainability at Lewis & Clark


An overview of  Sustainable Task Force’s Final Report 

Innovation andIntegration in Sustainability            atLewis & Clark

The campus sustainability movement

Sustainability is one of the most visible and popular movements on U.S. college campuses today, with phenomenal recent growth. Consider these statistics for AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education:[1] from 2006 to 2011, the number of AASHE member institutions has grown from 45 to 1100, and participants in their national conference have swelled from 700 in 2006 to 2100 in 2010.[2] The Chronicle of Higher Education routinely reports on sustainability, and a number of college rankings, such as the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” or the Sustainable Endowment Institute’s “Green Report Card,”[3] focus exclusively on sustainability (as does the AASHE STARS program).[4]

Lewis & Clark College faces three broad choices in response to this movement. The first is to largely ignore it as a fad; we do not support this response, given the huge student and societal demand for sustainable solutions. The second option—which appears understandable at first glance—is to model ourselves largely on current best practices gleaned from other campuses. Why do we not recommend this second route? Clearly, there is a great deal we can learn from other institutions; yet there would be nothing distinctive, no great value added to or derived from the campus sustainability movement by Lewis & Clark if we adopted it as our sole standard. More significantly, key Lewis & Clark faculty and administrators with whom we have consulted over the last year do not feel that sustainability as typically practiced engages their intellectual and moral imaginations; indeed, the campus sustainability movement is by and large populated by a limited sector relative to the enormous breadth of academic fields in U.S. higher education.

Redefining sustainability

We strongly recommend a third choice in response to the burgeoning campus sustainability movement, one of working in partnership with other institutions yet prioritizing innovation and integration in how we practice sustainability at Lewis & Clark College. This preferred approach builds on a more robust definition of sustainability that stands in contrast to its popular alternatives. For instance, many campus sustainability websites emphasize lowering our ecological footprint. But this is an entirely negative definition: sustainability becomes a matter of doing less bad. Taken to its logical conclusion, the most sustainable thing for Lewis & Clark would be to disappear! Even when focusing on positive actions, campus sustainability efforts as promoted via AASHE and SEI are largely limited to good green practices like alternative energy and food waste composting. We support these sorts of practices, but note that they reflect only one piece of a much richer puzzle.

Most accounts of sustainability hearken back to the 1987 Brundtland Commission report, which defined sustainable development as an approach that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”[5] The Brundtland approach was expansive: it embraced ecological concerns alongside economic development and social equity, and at international and intergenerational scales.[6] This broad set of interlocking concerns is often called a “triple-bottom-line” or “three-legged stool” approach addressing ecology, economy, and equity. All three of these dimensions are routinely considered by corporations and organizations participating in the Global Reporting Initiative,[7] perhaps the most rigorously developed and widely used assessment instrument in the international field today. Yet one would be hard pressed in the campus sustainability movement today to find any mention of international scales, or agendas for change that rest on much more than a one-legged green stool.[8]

If Lewis & Clark is educating citizens and leaders not just of our green campus but our diverse world, this Brundtland-inspired approach merits our serious attention. To implement this broader agenda demands innovation: we can only learn so much from current best practices. It also fundamentally demands integration, intelligently weaving together a broad set of concerns at multiple scales.  When put into practice, this approach to sustainability at Lewis & Clark would honor our respective practical concerns and areas of scholarly expertise[1], while reminding us that no one dimension of sustainability can be achieved alone.  Following that old story of the blind sages and the elephant, sustainability is the elephant, not simply the trunk or the tail, and we can only discover it by assembling the pieces. [2]In moving ahead with our recommendations, then, we place great emphasis on expanding the circle of participants in sustainability at Lewis & Clark, and in fostering stronger, more innovative communications and connections so we can collectively discover and practice what sustainability means in our world today.

An educational focus

We recommend the following mission to ground our sustainability efforts at Lewis & Clark College:

Lewis & Clark College is committed to learning, innovation, and principled action on matters related to sustain
ability, as grounded in our educational mission to cultivate global thinkers and leaders. Our approach to sustainability will build on the best available scholarship and practice; recognize the importance and interrelatedness of ecology, economy, and equity; and operate on scales stretching from our campus to the world.

Several features bear emphasis. We conceptually approach sustainability in a broad, integrative manner, and we honor the connection between thought and practice, in “walking our talk” as well as “talking our walk,” always in fresh, innovative ways. But why should an institution of higher education embrace sustainability? Our answer is that it is central to our educational mission to cultivate the next generation of global citizens, scholars, and leaders.

This emphasis on education—whether in the classroom, in an international setting, in the boardroom, or on a campus service project—is what binds us together at Lewis & Clark. As President Barry Glassner remarked in an interview in January, “Whatever is on the agenda, your compass needle should be pointed toward students and their education. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professor, a trustee, a president, an administrative assistant, a groundskeeper.”[9]

An innovative, integrative approach built on an educational focus would fuse sustainability into the lifeblood of our institution, and support recent language adopted by Lewis & Clark as part of a statement on core themes and objectives submitted to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities,[10] which includes “promote investigation, debate and action on local, national and global issues affecting ecological, social and economic sustainability,” and “pursue, test, and apply innovative ideas and approaches in sustainable planning, policies, and practices.” It would also be distinctive relative to other institutions, placing Lewis & Clark in a position of leadership in higher education today. In our survey of campus sustainability across the U.S., we have learned a great deal from the organizational strategies of other institutions and have been inspired by their commitments, but we have also generally observed a relatively narrow approach to sustainability and a common disconnect from their larger educational mission. Lewis & Clark is a small school with a modest endowment, but we can mount a big, academically rigorous approach to sustainability that will resonate strongly with our values while demonstrating to prospective students, donors, and other interested outsiders a unique approach suitable for our world.

Efforts at Lewis & Clark to date

Unprecedented growth on the Lewis & Clark campus, coupled with concerns over impacts of this development, motivated formation of the Lewis & Clark Environmental Council in the late 1990s, founded to promote wise ecological stewardship on campus. Its charge states that it “will examine those aspects of College operations that have an impact on the natural and built environment. Its task will be to research, propose, and support constructive actions and policies to mitigate negative environmental impacts and promote environmentally responsible practices.” The Environmental Council reported to the Provost, and included two CAS faculty and one each from the Law and Graduate schools, four staff, and two CAS and one Law student.

In the early 2000s, the Environmental Council was renamed the Sustainability Council, following a wave of interest in sustainability on our and many other college campuses across the country. Yet its ecologically-focused charge was not likewise expanded, so in effect the Sustainability Council maintained the same scope of concerns as its predecessor. By the late 2000s, it was apparent that the Sustainability Council was not playing a visible, central role in campus discussions and decisions. Differences over its focus arose, with some advocating a more expansive approach while others preferred to restrict attention to the recently signed Presidents’ Climate Commitment.[11] Yet interest in sustainability among the general public, prospective students, and college assessors only grew during this period, putting Lewis & Clark in a relatively weak position to respond to these demands.

In September 2010, then, the Lewis & Clark Executive Council stepped in to proactively address our opportunities and challenges related to sustainability. Their charge language follows:

We propose the creation of a sustainability task force, comprising student, faculty, and staff representatives and all three of Lewis & Clark’s schools, to spend one academic year studying the situation and recommending a way forward. More specifically, we recommend that such a task force be charged with defining a scope for our sustainability efforts (while understanding that the concept of sustainability is complex and ever-evolving) and devising effective mechanisms to ensure that we can accomplish whatever we set out to do on this front.

The Sustainability Task Force has now met for eight months; this report is a direct outcome of our deliberations. The roughly two dozen Task Force participants are listed in Appendix A; they include a broad swath of students, staff, faculty, and administrators from our institution. We spent a great deal of time reading sustainability literature, exchanging thoughts on topics such as sustainability assessment and the campus sustainability movement, and distributing drafts of portions of this report. We by no means agreed on all topics. What is presented here represents the best attempt of the Task Force chairs, Tom Krattenmaker and Jim Proctor, to weave together these Task Force contributions into a coherent, actionable document for the benefit of the Executive Council and the Lewis & Clark community.

Seven interrelated components

Common subdivisions of campus sustainability, such as are found in the STARS assessment rubric, cover discrete topics such as transportation, purchasing, or energy use. Given our broader definition of sustainability, we however decided to divide our Task Force into seven subgroups, each of which represented a crosscutting “action area” or dimension of sustainability as we envision it at Lewis & Clark (see Figure 1). Four of these dimensions address specific yet interrelated components, including campus practices, off-campus dimensions, student life, and teaching, research, and service. As suggested in Figure 1, each of these components must not only be internally complete but well connected in order for Lewis & Clark to achieve its ambitious agenda for sustainability. The remaining three address more general components, including the organizational structure for sustainability at Lewis & Clark, how sustainability will be integrated into larger institutional decisionmaking, and internal and external communications related to sustainability. These more general action areas must be well coordinated with each other and support all four of the more specific components. Taken together, these seven components will guide our resultant scope, objectives, and recommendations for this report.

 

Figure 1.

To offer a synoptic view of our vision of sustainability at Lewis & Clark, primary contributions of each dimension are provided in Table 1 below, together with brief notes on key challenges specific to each dimension. As a quick read will suggest, each of these seven action areas would play an integral role via its key contributions to sustainability at Lewis & Clark. An elaboration of these contributions and how they would be achieved will be featured in the next section, when major recommended actions will be presented.

Prior to launching into these recommendations, it is worth emphasizing the key challenges summarized in Table 1, as these could be among the most important factors mitigating against realization of our vision of sustainability at Lewis & Clark. For the most part, these challenges could be discovered on many other college campuses across the country, but we do expect them here as well. When summarized, challenges appear to be of three major types:

      Conceptual challenges. The conceptual complexities alluded to above will certainly play a role as sustainability unfolds at Lewis & Clark. Limited approaches to sustainability may, for instance, lead to a neglect of off-campus dimensions even though they are an impressive feature spanning all three schools.

      Challenges of inertia. Our recommendations would lead to major changes in how sustainability is conceived and implemented at Lewis & Clark, and this will by necessity confront certain institutional barriers. For instance, to merge thought and practice in sustainability we will need to work hard to encourage greater integration of the student life and academic sectors, and both with campus operations.

      Challenges of coordination. Given that sustainability demands close communication, collaboration, and coordination among disparate sectors, it is not surprising that effective coordination is a recurrent challenge noted in Table 1. Without requiring that everyone at Lewis & Clark march in lock step, we nonetheless caution that innovative, integrative sustainability will not be evidenced without relatively strong coordination.

 table-1.png



[1] See www.aashe.org.

[2] Personal communication, Judy Walton, AASHE Membership and Outreach Director, March 25 2011.

[3] See www.sierraclub.org/sierra/201009/coolschools and www.greenreportcard.org.

[4] See stars.aashe.org.

[5] World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, p. 43.

 

[6] Adams, William M. Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in a Developing World. London: Routledge, 2009.

[7] See www.globalreporting.org.

[8] Proctor, James D. “True Sustainability Means Going Beyond Campus Boundaries.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 2010, [add citation info].

[9] See www.lclark.edu/chronicle/story/?id=9846.

[10] Standard I Report to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities [add citation info]

[11] See www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.

 

Sustainability in Teaching, Research, & Services

 This document is a draft of the final report from the Teaching, Research, & Service group.  Along with the reports of several other groups, it will eventually comprise a final, working document regarding the plan and implementation of the Sustainability Initiative at Lewis & Clark.

Teaching, Research, and Service

Teaching, research, and service are central to Lewis & Clark College[1] as well as virtually all other institutions of higher education.  Oddly, however, these dimensions have not to date been prioritized in college sustainability oversight efforts, resulting in a mismatch of missions and the marginalization of sustainability from the academic core of higher education. For instance, the widely known College Sustainability Report Card[2] prepared by the Sustainable Endowments Institute includes only one related item, “sustainability internship opportunities for students on campus,” which contributes roughly three percent to the Report Card total, while the remainder of the Report Card is dedicated to sustainability practices and administration without mention of integration with learning.  The more comprehensive STARS rubric[3] developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education includes Education and Research as one of three major categories of assessment, but this component of STARS has only been recently introduced, and profiles of participating institutions on the AASHE and STARS websites rarely feature academic dimensions.

The Sustainability Task Force recognizes the importance of other dimensions of sustainability, such as the Operations and Planning, Administration, & Engagement categories of STARS.  But we know that Lewis & Clark College will not take sustainability seriously, and will not serve in an academic leadership role relative to other colleges, if we do not prioritize teaching, research, and service-related learning as the core of our sustainability mission.  We also recognize that sustainability has not generally been practiced in a manner that presents opportunities for diverse intellectual engagement: in short, the “sustainability as good green practices” approach that prevails among institutions of higher education today has failed to make significant inroads into the academic core of these institutions, and thus has failed to advance intellectually as a result. Our challenge at Lewis & Clark is to deepen our understandings and practices related to sustainability via greater academic engagement while raising its profile across the academic programs comprising our institution.

Priority outcomes and indicators

We recommend four priority outcomes in the Teaching, Research, and Service area:

1.      Learning opportunities are prominent in sustainability-related actions at Lewis & Clark. This overarching outcome reflects the challenge we face in higher education sustainability today, as summarized above. Yet rather than being a separate set of pursuits, learning-related benefits will ideally be derived from each and every sustainability-related action we take at Lewis & Clark, whether in the classroom, in the laboratory, on our campus grounds, in the surrounding community, or in our international efforts.  It may well be administratively simpler, for instance, for operations practices such as energy monitoring to be done by Lewis & Clark staff, and for larger conversations around the scope and possibility of sustainability to be the focus of dedicated courses; but we strongly caution against this administrative separation, as it will inevitably further a disconnect between thought and practice that liberal arts schools such as Lewis & Clark must strive to overcome.  In our assessment, the Lewis & Clark community will develop a more robust concept of sustainability by weaving together its related practices, and will take action in a more informed way if learning and reflection elements are included.

2.      Each student at Lewis & Clark benefits from a healthy number and diversity of interrelated courses that tie into sustainability. The STARS rubric refers to “sustainability-focused” and “sustainability-related” courses, where the former engage more fully with the concept and practice of sustainability than the latter; we find value in both for our learning community.  The “number and diversity” approach is analogous to richness vs. evenness measures of biodiversity, where the former typically involves a count of how many species are present, and the latter checks for adequate distribution of each these species in the overall mix.  As one example, courses that address ecological dimensions of sustainability are popular among our students, but without adequate course-related opportunities to consider other dimensions–such as equity–our overall picture of sustainability will remain uneven.  The “interrelated” term builds on this attention toward richness and evenness by suggesting that our instructors and students across all departments may well benefit not only from the courses they teach or take, but from opportunities for engagement and information sharing with other courses as well.

3.      Sustainability courses at Lewis & Clark include research and service opportunities. The STARS rubric includes a Sustainability Research Identification area that prioritizes efforts among institutions of higher education to define exactly what sustainability research is; but in our estimate, integration of sustainability into top-quality academic research on our (indeed, any) campus will remain elusive, in large part due to the variety of pressures that drive faculty research.
 
On the other end, sustainability-related service opportunities are by far the lowest-hanging of the teaching, research, and service fruits, with a good deal of notable campus and community service already in evidence at Lewis & Clark and other institutions.  In this level-of-difficulty hierarchy, sustainability-related courses lie somewhere in the middle, and could actually serve to integrate the three if research and service opportunities were prioritized. Such courses would encourage a raising of the intellectual bar on service projects, and create greater opportunities for sustainability-related research by students, with possible carryover to faculty supervisors.

4.      A healthy number and diversity of sustainability-related service opportunities are available at Lewis & Clark. Though, as mentioned above, a wide range of service opportunities is available to students in all three Lewis & Clark schools, these opportunities could be coordinated more extensively and related more specifically to sustainability concerns. Consistent with the Task Force’s proposed Lewis & Clark sustainability mission, attention to sustainability-related service opportunities prioritizing ecological, economic, or equity dimensions at local to global scales would thus not only offer greater and more diverse availability for student engagement, but would serve to help our Lewis & Clark community develop and demonstrate a much broader concept and practice of sustainability.

[Note: at this point I’m not listing detailed indicators for each of the above, as they’d be relatively straightforward and we may not see robust indicators in other action area reports; if so, we’ll include an aggregated section on indicators in another portion of the report.]

Stakeholders and consultation process

In order to explore further the opportunities and challenges in teaching, research, and service facing the Lewis & Clark community, we identified representatives for key stakeholders in our community and conducted a series of interviews in February and March.  As stated above, our approach views learning as a potentially integrative element across all dimensions of sustainability at Lewis & Clark.  To simplify the consultation process we primarily focused on key officials representing the academic mission of the institution, or staff/administrators whose purview connected to this academic mission in a significant manner.  The main officials we have interviewed include:

·       Jane Atkinson, Vice President and Provost. In addition to her oversight of “essential functions that affect the daily lives of Lewis & Clark faculty and students,” including LC Sustainability Council efforts to date, the Provost is a longstanding faculty member in CAS and deeply appreciates to need to integrate learning dimensions into our community life.

·       Lucrecia Choto, CAS Overseas and Off-Campus Programs. With Director Larry Meyers engaged in field reconnaissance, Lucrecia kindly volunteered to discuss learning-related elements of the undergraduate overseas programs their office oversees.

·       Scott Fletcher, Dean, Graduate School. The mission statement of our Graduate School of Education and Counseling supports a strong moral voice and commitment to action. Dean Fletcher thus heads a segment of our Lewis & Clark community that has maintained a keen interest in promoting sustainability [more promoting social justice and equity than sustainability per se] in both professional and personal contexts.

·       Minda Heyman, Director, Center for Career & Community Engagement.  3CE is the coordinating office for service and professional opportunities among undergraduates in CAS; a wide variety of opportunities of relevance to sustainability already exist, though they are not organized or promoted as such.

·       Jane Hunter, Interim Dean, CAS. The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest of the three schools at Lewis & Clark, covers a wide variety of dimensions of sustainability in its teaching and research, though relatively few CAS faculty view their work as such.  Under Dean Hunter’s purview, then, is an impressive set of relatively untapped opportunities to deepen our intellectual grasp of sustainability.

·       Robert Klonoff, Dean, Law School.  Though the Law School supports a wide range of professional law degrees, its nation-leading reputation in environmental law attracts students and connects to professional opportunities that highly prioritize sustainability. In addition, international dimensions related to sustainable development are increasingly prominent in Dean Klonoff’s vision of the Law Schools’ trajectory.

Without exception, consultations with these officials revealed strong support for a more coordinated, prominent, academically-rich approach to sustainability at Lewis & Clark.  They also offered anecdotes to suggest the opportunities and challenges we face in doing do.  As one example, Jane Atkinson reviewed the growth of Gender Studies in CAS over the last three decades, arguing that what was once an intellectually constrained endeavor has retained its activist fervor while considerably deepening and diversifying its academic roots. Might the same be possible at Lewis & Clark with sustainability?  A number of challenges were acknowledged in multiple interviews, perhaps the most prominent of which involved coordination of efforts across (sometimes within!) the three schools, and consistent support for these efforts via staff and budgeting. 

 

Each of these interviews suggested a set of wide-open doors we could walk through in our learning-centered sustainability efforts, though it will only be via adequate coordination, staffing, and funding that Lewis & Clark will be able to build on its existing teaching, research, and service strengths.

Summary recommendations

Based on the prioritized outcomes and consultations noted above, we recommend the following near- and longer-term actions at Lewis & Clark so that teaching, research, and service play a prominent part in our sustainability agenda.

·       2010-11

o   Conduct a survey of existing course and research efforts that connect to sustainability.  A draft summary for the Graduate School exists, but efforts for the Law School and CAS remain to be initiated and will require considerable effort.  We strongly urge a spirit of discovery, in which both those doing the survey and the faculty participating in the survey benefit by learning more about the various dimensionalities and relevance of sustainability across the span of Lewis & Clark academic programs.  We recommend that this process include conversations with professors teaching courses that could potentially connect to sustainability.  The aim is not to persuade unwilling professors to teach more of A or B but rather to reach a mutual understanding of sustainability and potential connections.  We hope to tap into interests that are already there and facilitate more explicit connections.

o   Develop an annotated online reading and resource list on sustainability. We have discovered a number of campus offices and faculty who have a nominal interest in sustainability, yet would benefit from a set of readings and resources (e.g., organizational links) they could use in their courses or as a part of service, overseas, and other activities.  Ideally the list would build in an incremental manner via student input.

o   Create a tri-campus recurrent sustainability speaker and film series.  Regular sustainability-related events could generate not only interest but greater reflection on the concept and best practices. Such a series should strive to offer value to our Lewis & Clark community not already found in Portland, and offer distinctive voices on sustainability not already generally reflected in campus sustainability discourse, so as to provide the greatest possible learning value.

o   Start to build partnerships across campuses involving research, teaching, and service. These could take the form of, for instance, CAS undergraduates partnering with law students in sustainability-related research projects, Grad School-initiated courses related to sustainability available to undergraduates, collaborative research between law students and CAS faculty, and CAS courses on international sustainable development available to law students.  We recommend that the three schools work together to facilitate academic exchange and formalize a process for credit transfer between schools. 

·       Longer-term

o   Host a New Directions in Sustainability conference at Lewis & Clark. This action, based on an initial suggestion by President Barry Glassner, requires further investigation given the current plethora of sustainability-related meetings on college campuses across the United States. President Glassner is correct, however, in noting the relatively depauperate academic state of many of these meetings, and the opportunity Lewis & Clark may have to lend a distinctive voice to this large conversation.

o   Develop a Sustainability Center at Lewis & Clark to further integrate teaching, research, and service as a priority in our sustainability efforts. A physical space with adequate staffing, a meeting/gathering room, reading resources, and web support would be the physical manifestation of Lewis & Clark’s long-term commitment to learning as the heart of its sustainability actions, provide a place for students and other members of the community to discover and communicate opportunities, organize resources for browsing and research, and better integrate sustainability-related thought and practice into the daily life of our community.  .   This would help ensure that these sustainability efforts are visible, accessible, and continue to grow in successive years.

 

 

·       [I wonder whether another longer term goal should be the identification of courses in each CAS academic department and at the Law School and Grad School that explore sustainability issues.  You talk earlier about identifying such courses—but say nothing about actually doing anything with these findings.  Professional development aimed at effecting the kind of cultural change that Minda talked about would also be helpful.


[1] See www.lclark.edu/about/mission_statement.

[2] See www.greenreportcard.org.

[3] See stars.aashe.org; commentary refers to the STARS 1.01 technical manual effective June 2010.

Student Proposals

Please post your proposals as comments to this blog post. Thank you for contributing.

The Mug Board

Reduce consumption of disposable cups.

Sustainable Garden

Grow your own food.

Draft Goals

DRAFT GOALS of Sustainability Task Force: Student Life

  • A formalized yet easily accessible structure will be in place to coordinate, support, and act as a resource for student-initiated projects and awareness campaigns.
    • Students will be familiar with this structure and comfortable utilizing it.
    • Collaboration will be promoted between separate groups (e.g. clubs and academics).
    • Advocates will be provided feedback and organizational assistance in order to successfully follow through with feasible proposals and projects.
    • Necessary information and responses will be provided in a timely, transparent, and straightforward manner.
    • A formalized yet easily accessible structure will be in place to coordinate, support, and act as a resource for student-initiated projects and awareness campaigns.
    • There will be student sustainability representatives in all student governments and on relevant administrative councils.
  • An inter-campus communication platform will be in place within the LC community that further empowers students to live more sustainably.
    • Enables trade, sharing, and exchange of goods (e.g. books, furniture) and resources (e.g. rides, tools, skills) amongst students so as to reduce waste and unnecessary consumption.
      • Compiles information about resources both on and off campus and makes it readily available to all members of the LC community.
      • Provides updated lists of events, announcements, and projects happening on all three campuses that all LC community members can add to and comment on.
    • Promotes collaboration and exchange of ideas between students.
  • Proposals for ways to improve the sustainability of student life  housing, transportation, and daily consumption both on and off campus will be continuously elicited and encouraged from all members of the LC community.

———————————————————————————————————————————————DRAFT GOALS of Sustainability Task Force: Campus Operations

  1. Promote sustainability through operational data-tracking and goal-setting to promote informed action and project development.
    1. Tracking of indicators and relevant data
      1. Including but not limited to internal and external programs (e.g. LC indicators, reports cards, sustainability programs)
      2. On-going assessment of impacts (e.g., data analysis, site planning, inter-departmental communication and coordination)
    2. Periodic review and update of sustainability goals based on data
  2. Promote learning through on-campus opportunities that connect academic, institutional, and operational goals and action.
    1. Develop programs/projects that connect on-campus to coursework, research or co-curricular activities (e.g., data analysis, mapping invasive species, updating sustainability indicators)
    2. Develop student programming and positions
  3. Promote campus community building and engagement through the development of programming/projects to educate and inform students, faculty, and staff regarding sustainability issues.
    1. Promote, coordinate, and support departmental and/or campus green or sustainability teams
    2. Promote/coordinate activities such as dumpster dive, book club, lunch speakers, films, communication tools, etc).

Sustainability Task Force

The Lewis & Clark Sustainability Task Force was established by the Executive Council to work during the 2010-11 academic year toward “defining a scope for our sustainability efforts (while understanding that the concept of sustainability is complex and ever-evolving) and devising effective mechanisms to ensure that we can accomplish whatever we set out to do on this front.”Its draft mission reads: “Lewis & Clark College is committed to learning, innovation, and principled action on matters related to sustainability, as grounded in our educational mission to cultivate global thinkers and leaders. Our approach to sustainability will build on the best available scholarship and practice; recognize the importance and interrelatedness of ecology, economy, and equity; and operate on scales stretching from our campus to the world.”Currently, seven action area subgroups — campus operations, communications, institutional decisionmaking, off-campus dimensions, organizational structure, student life, and teaching, research, and service — are reaching out to a wide set of campus and community stakeholders to chart desired outcomes and devise a set of recommended actions, with a reporting deadline of March 14.Update coming soon.

Welcome to ELC’s Sustainability Blog

The Environmental Law Caucus decided to put together a blog on the subject of sustainability. First, we hope the blog will be a quasi-narrative on “how to make your (law) school more sustainable.”  Student body representatives will use the blog to communicate causally and candidly about sustainability at Lewis & Clark.Second, the blog will ideally be a forum to pose questions to the student body and solicit student proposals (i.e., air hand dryers in the bathrooms, signs to clarify the recycling and compost bins). Please let us know if you have thoughts and suggestions. We hope you like it and please feel free to leave comments.