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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.

Sustainability work #4 - Spreading the gospel
October 10, 2008 - 4:41pm

Maybe I'm a heretic, but I think a sustainable society/economy/environment can be nicer than the one we've got now. (And I even thought that 2+ weeks ago!) So when I use the word "gospel", I'm not being sardonic. Which is a good thing, because sardonicism doesn't win you a lot of converts, and winning converts is a big part of my job.

Not as big as it used to be, I'll admit. American society, students, and the Greenback U. establishment are starting to get it. But there are still a lot of people who don't or won't. And to the extent that I can convince or quiet those folks, Greenback's sustainability efforts are easier and faster to implement.

Spreading the good word occurs in a lot of different ways, a lot of different fora.

  • Each sustainability-related group on campus has a web site, which provides information about the group and its projects, and also usually provides links to other sustainability-related resources (some with a bit of entertainment value -- gotta keep those eyeballs coming back).
  • As a central resource on campus, I send out a periodic newsletter, with event announcements, factoids, behavioral suggestions, links to sustainability-related stories in the media (mainstream and alternative).
  • Every time there's a significant event on the Quad or in the Campus Center/Union, I make sure there's a table with the latest sustainability-related information (and usually some sort of useful tchochkes made from recycled materials).
  • Several times a year, a team of us organizes specific sustainability-related events on campus, with invited speakers, panels, students presenting their research or posters from their service projects, sometimes music or other entertainment.
  • I address staff meetings in administrative departments, orientation sessions for new employees (particularly in Student Affairs), and meetings of interested campus clubs/fraternities/sororities/learning communities.
  • I do invited speaking engagements (unpaid, unfortunately) at community groups, churches, service clubs and the like.
  • And I liaise with a half-dozen organizations with sustainability-related interests (some formal, some less than) on campus.

In a sense, most of what I do to spread the word is simply a re-leveraging of efforts I put in to perform other aspects of my job, but the fact is that the noise level -- the number of interruptions and ad hoc activities -- generated by the various PR efforts is quite high. And that's in spite of the fact that I dragoon as many people as I can into the effort. A couple of them faculty. Some of them staff. A bunch of them students.

And speaking of students, ... but that's another story.


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