• Getting to Green

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

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SCUP 44 - Monday morning

The opening plenary today was addressed by Jonathan Kozol – always an inspiration in terms of the value of education as opposed to training, and particularly relevant to education for sustainability (although he never uttered the word).

July 20, 2009
 

The opening plenary today was addressed by Jonathan Kozol – always an inspiration in terms of the value of education as opposed to training, and particularly relevant to education for sustainability (although he never uttered the word).

More immediately relevant, perhaps, was something I noticed whilst walking through the convention center. Disposal of solid wastes happens at stations with containers for trash, for paper recycling, and for mixed (glass, metal, etc.) recycling. The containers are color coded, and the ones for recycling are labeled clearly to indicate the materials to be deposited. But the container for trash isn’t labeled “trash”, rather it’s labeled “landfill”. The difference, of course, is that “trash” is something you send away, while “landfill” is a place you send things to. Since there really is no “away”, specific reference of where you’re sending things to would seem likely to influence people’s thinking, and performance.

That’s a labeling change we might all want to think about.
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Very solid session by presenters from UWisconsin – Eau Claire, regarding their process for evaluation, planning, prioritization. The specific goals (other than surviving budget cuts) weren’t mentioned, but the general shape and feel of their process should be widely applicable. They relied, during the design of that process, in part on information from Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services, a 1999 book by Robert Dickeson. I’ll have to check it out.

Continuing the ”walking through the building” theme – restrooms are identified with silhouette symbols showing men in pants and women in dresses. How long will that work? (Of course, given the fact that some campus residence halls now include coed restrooms, how long will it need to?)

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