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.
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July 18, 2008
July 17, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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.
July 3, 2008
A recent post on Gristmill spoke to Volkswagen's increasing investment in hybrid cars, and the industry trend towards less internal combustion, higher reliance on electrical propulsion.
July 1, 2008
I was out of town over the weekend, getting to know the newest member of the Rendell clan. My new niece -- two weeks old -- will probably be the last-born member of her generation within the extended family. Thus, there's little doubt she will get spoiled, with attention and affection if not with material goods. We should all be so lucky.
June 30, 2008
Thanks to a correspondent for putting me onto this story. Feel free to share anything even vaguely similar. Or different. Ithaca, New York might be described as a prototypical university town. Cornell University on one hill, Ithaca College on another, lots of liberal voters in the middle of relatively conservative upstate New York. I'm told that it's sometimes defined as "ten square miles surrounded by reality."