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An Ongoing Dialogue: Foundations of Sustainability

By Sustainability Office on August 26, 2016
-Dan Pacheco ’17
Foundations of Sustainability Participants

Foundations of Sustainability Participants

Campus may have seemed a little quieter over the summer, but Colgate’s efforts to promote sustainability didn’t slow down.

For the second straight summer, the Office of Sustainability organized a six-week discussion group titled Foundations of Sustainability.

Each week, 20 individuals including Colgate faculty, staff, and students representing over a dozen departments on campus, came ready to discuss sustainability-related issues on campus and beyond. Weekly topics included an exploration of food systems, water, energy, recycling and waste management, climate change, and green buildings. The group reflected on the ecological, economic, social, and health impacts of our choices on a national scale and here at Colgate University and how individual daily choices can lead to a more sustainable future.

Each week, participants completed a few short readings before class in order to prepare for the discussions.  This created energetic dialogue among the participants about the human impact on our planet, and inspired environmentally ethical thoughts and actions here at Colgate.

Many participants were impacted by the course and motivated to take action.

“I’ve already made small but substantive changes in my habits, specifically due to this class.  And I plan on making more. Step by step, I’m on a path of making changes, when two months ago it wasn’t really on my horizon,” one participant stated in a follow-up survey.

“I should not be discouraged that my individual actions toward sustainability seem small.  I’m now more optimistic that my actions can have a ripple effect on others,” a second participant responded when asked about the most valuable takeaway from the course.

It is these types of conversations and actions, among students, faculty, and staff, that are an integral part of Colgate’s continued effort to form a more engaged community and a more sustainable campus.

The Foundations of Sustainability course is part of a new Sustainability Passport Program that will be rolled out this fall.  As part of this new initiative, employees can voluntarily choose to participate in a suite of sustainability-focused educational programs. The Sustainability Passport Program is intended to raise knowledge, awareness, and action that further support our campus sustainability and carbon neutrality goals.

Stay tuned throughout the fall semester for more information!

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