Sewanee makes progress on Sustainability Master Pan

By Page Forrest
Staff Writer

“Keep Sewanee Green!”

“Remember… These come from trees!”

We’re constantly bombarded by slogans every day, reminding us to be environmentally conscious, and to make Sewanee a more green, sustainable environment.

As of October 23, it seems the rest of the campus is as well. The Sustainability Master Plan (SMP) has now received approval from the student body, Board of Regents, and Board of Trustees, and been endorsed by the faculty of The College of Arts and Sciences and The School of Theology.

Sewanee’s Sustainability Master Plan lays out a series of seven strategic goals and 39 operational goals that, once accomplished, will make the University a far more environmentally conscious place.

The goals include: to commit to going beyond carbon neutrality and becoming a significant carbon absorber using a three-pronged approach; to galvanize and transform the academy and the community by launching and executing a “Sustain Sewanee” campaign – a mission to achieve a “Gold” rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) as part of their STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System) program by 2015; to promote sustainability goals into all divisions of the University and in the career development and work expectations of all employees; to promote sustainability throughout and beyond the curriculum to empower and facilitate a student body literate and focused on pressing issues of sustainable living; to utilize the University’s land base and its management to establish the University as an example of responsible land stewardship both among universities and on the southern Cumberland Plateau; and to critically reexamine the University’s investment strategic, engaging in a dialog of how our investment portfolio can best reflect institutional values.

As can be seen from the overarching goals, the SMP will require work from not only the administration and faculty, but the student body as well. Sewanee has always been a school focused on giving back to the environment and taking care of the land it is a part of, but a plan laid out in text will help the school to reach new levels of sustainability.

The plan has been in progress since 2008, when an addendum was made to the University’s 2004 Strategic Plan that called for “academic integration of sustainability into the curriculum and for a Sustainability Master Plan to set goals and measure progress,” according to the official Sustain Sewanee website.

A celebration to kick off the “Sustain Sewanee” campaign was held on November 7 in Harris Commons.