Getting to Green
An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.
July 21, 2008 - 10:03am
"Globalism" is the overall theme here, and yesterday's plenary speaker spoke on one aspect of it -- global citizenship. This morning's plenary speaker was just such a global citizen, Parag Khanna, whose book "The Second World" recounts his observations of some 40 emerging markets, many of whom are emerging as significant educational, as well as economic, players.
July 20, 2008 - 9:19pm
OK, so I've met a bunch of SCUPers (at least that's what some of them call themselves -- I always thought a scupper was a hole just above deck level to let the water drain), I've attended a "newbie" orientation, I sat through the opening plenary, and I'm confused.
July 18, 2008 - 12:00pm
As this goes to press, I'm engaged in ecologically responsible travel to SCUP-43, in Montreal. I'm hoping to get some insight into how sustainability considerations could get integrated into Greenback U's strategic planning process. That is, if Greenback actually has a strategic planning process -- I certainly haven't seen any direct evidence of one. Anyways, I'll be posting several times a day, Monday through Wednesday. Maybe over the weekend, as well. General impressions, potentially useful insights, restaurant reviews, whatever. It should be fun.
July 17, 2008 - 10:27am
Yesterday evening, I was listening to NPR while I was driving, and they did a bit about a local bartering exchange. People provide goods and services to others, and receive goods and services they want in return. But, unlike simple barter scenarios, you and I don't each need to have something the other wants to make a deal. The exchange serves as a central recorder of who has earned credits, who has spent credits that they've earned, and how much of each.
July 14, 2008 - 6:58pm
I've commented before on the challenges Greenback is facing, accounting for the considerable greenhouse gas emissions resulting from things like air travel and purchased paper. Like lots of other universities, we've decentralized the purchasing of these products and services. Years ago, this purchasing was centralized on the theory that purchasing in large quantities got Greenback a lower price.
July 11, 2008 - 12:45pm
Now that the summer capital projects are all underway and most Greenback students are off campus, I have time to do some reading, analysis, strategizing. Big picture stuff and, when the subject's sustainability, the picture can get really big.
July 9, 2008 - 10:08pm
I'm about two-thirds of the way through Beyond the Modern University, by Marcus Peter Ford. It's a slim volume, but heavy going for those of us not fully conversant with the differences between Cartesian ontological dualism and Kantian epistemological dualism.
July 9, 2008 - 5:06am
Vance Fried's proposal for a "$7,376 Ivy" isn't intended to be about sustainability, unless we're talking about the sustainability of the economic and political health of the higher education industry within the USA. His intent is merely (if that term applies) to create a conceptual prototype for what an undergraduate institution would look like, if it were created from scratch and designed to deliver maximum value for the price charged.
July 8, 2008 - 9:05am
Greenback U. is, in the terminology of those who think and write analytically about such things, a "multiversity." It's a double-handful of schools and colleges, "united by a common heating system." It does a lot of things, some of them very well. One of the things it doesn't do well is institute change. Making change well requires coordination. Coordination, in a large organization, requires planning. Planning, at Greenback, is a patchwork at best.