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  • Getting to Green

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

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...
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.

Still, the journey toward whatever strategic goal we set (and carbon neutrality will be just one aspect of that goal) will need to happen like all journeys, one step at a time. The top-down stuff is great for those of us fully committed (hogs, not chickens -- lol), but in our interactions with other departments and campus groups, bottom-up planning has a lot to recommend it.

A major resource for bottom-up planning -- and for information when it's time to turn plans into reality -- was released last week. AASHE's campus sustainability digest for 2007 is a compendium of brief descriptions of all sorts of sustainability-related accomplishments that member institutions took last calendar year. Sure, there's a brief overview/status report in the first ten pages, but most of the value comes in the specific listings of projects, programs, and other actions taken. The listings are divided into helpful categories (buildings, transportation, energy, curriculum, funding, etc.), so if you've got an idea of what you're looking for, finding someone who has just done something similar is pretty easy. The digest entries are just short paragraphs, but each is accompanied by a link to more information; these usually will point you to a knowledgeable individual at the school in question.

Note that it's a yearbook, not an encyclopedia. If a university took a step towards sustainability two or three years ago, it won't be listed. But it's a great place to start looking for ideas and potential models to follow, and it will help you expand your network of contacts. Lots of good information, packed into only 229 pages. (OK, I admit it, I printed it out for future reference. Call me old-fashioned. But it's double-sided, and I only do it once a year. Can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sigh!)


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