Higher Education Webinars

Getting to Green

An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

April 2, 2009 - 10:19pm
I was on a campus recently, not too far from where I live. (One of the advantages of being in the northeast is that there are lots of colleges and universities nearby.) I had been on the same campus before, but this time I was looking at some of the academic space with not a parent's eye nor a student's eye, but with a sustainability administrator's eye. It was beautiful, in a kind of pre-first-Great-Depression institutional way. But it was too tall.
April 1, 2009 - 6:18pm
While I was learning about the workings of colleges and universities, I ran into Harvard's management model, which was described with the phrase "each tub on its own bottom". What was explained to me is a system in which, within limits, each school or college is treated as a business unit and is responsible for its own financial well-being. The university, thus, operates almost as a holding company or loose-knit conglomerate.
March 29, 2009 - 6:49pm
My previous post was perhaps not worse than a crime, but it was definitely a blunder. To go 0-for-2 in terms of mathematical logic in a post which excoriates other folks for not understanding mathematical logic, well ... some days, it just doesn't pay getting out of bed in the morning. Looking back, though, I can see how I got to "should have stood in bed" status.
March 26, 2009 - 4:52pm
I'll admit to being a little bit anal when it comes to math. I'm not sure "anal" is the right word, but I do expect numbers to make sense and people who can't make sense of numbers to stay as far away from them as possible. So, I want to squeeze in one last "the press is so stupid" post before the month is through.
March 25, 2009 - 5:52pm
I was in a grocery store checkout line last week. The woman in line ahead of me had two children with her: a small baby and a girl about three years old. As I started unloading my cart, I heard the three-year-old informing the cashier, quietly but firmly, that she was not a princess. I was, of course, immediately impressed with the kid's firm grasp on reality. (On the other hand, three-year-olds can be very literal-minded.)
March 23, 2009 - 4:48pm
Saturday, the Washington Post finally published the news that George Will has been intentionally misinforming his readers on the topic of climate change.
March 20, 2009 - 3:48pm
Two quick postscripts to finish out the week. After Wednesday's post about the shape of knowledge, I found mention of a study done at Los Alamos National Labs, mapping the interconnections and relationships among academic fields, based on clickstream data from online journals. No huge surprises, but one interesting conclusion: humanities and social sciences articles apparently provide significant inspiration (metaphors? marketing data?) to folks researching the hard sciences.
March 19, 2009 - 3:15pm
Sustainability, as any cause, has its wild-eyed fundamentalists. True believers who know, in their souls, the one true path to nirvana and the single step necessary to get us there. I'm not one of those -- if anything, I'm an assertive agnostic on how we get there from here. I just know we've got to make the journey and that there will be lots of steps along the way.
March 18, 2009 - 4:27pm
 
March 12, 2009 - 2:58pm
Elizabeth Redden's article today on study abroad and sustainability gives a good overview of the topic. For Greenback U and many other schools, the travel (mostly by air) involved in study abroad is responsible for a significant percentage of inventoried greenhouse gas emissions. Still, it's something I'd like to see campuses increase, not cut. Why? Look back at that previous statement. "Inventoried greenhouse gas emissions." Not "total greenhouse gas emissions."

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