Luther College, IA Draft Plan for Sustainability

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Luther College, IA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Draft as of September 2007

Source File: http://environment.luther.edu/files/Sust%20handout%20sept%2007.doc

Text:

Core Planning Team #4: Connecting Sustainability, Stewardship, and Global Citizenship

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Model stewardship and sustainability in all college operations.

Strategies:

a. Reduce carbon footprint by 50% (20 mil lbs. CO2) by 2012.
i. Efficiency and Conservation – develop a plan to implement more efficiency upgrades in the physical plant and enact broad reaching educational and behavior change initiatives.
ii. Install one or more wind turbines to generate at least 5 million kilowatts renewably. (Note: The group divided into subgroups to study i & ii and come back with reasonable projections in terms of reduction goals, possible strategies and estimated costs. We will meet again on 9/29/07 to consider these proposals.)
iii. Develop a strategy for use of carbon offsets including offsetting all college air travel with legitimate offsets. (The group approved the following statement for guidance on immediate proposals for offsets: “Carbon offsets must be a part of Luther College’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but should generally not exceed 25% of total reductions. Preference should be given to offsets from projects with known entities in our region where additionality is ensured.”)
iv. Significantly reduce emissions from college fleet vehicles through alternatives (hybrids, electric, biodiesel, compressed natural gas) and changed driving behavior.
b. Develop a plan within two years to achieve carbon neutrality. The plan should include specific strategies and timelines based on four-year cycles to measure progress.
c. Monitor emissions from student/faculty/staff travel and develop strategies to reduce emissions.
d. Significantly reduce material flows and associated energy by reducing consumption, switching to more sustainable alternatives and increasing recycling. (The following specific areas will be studied by students and staff with the intention of setting targets and devising strategies to meet them by December 07: food, solid waste, purchasing, transportation).

2. Make sustainability a part of every student’s learning experience.

Strategies:

a. Integrate sustainability into the general education program.
i. Explore greater emphasis on place in Paideia I, possibly with a field trip component.
ii. Develop more study-away courses that focus on the environment and sustainability, particularly in developing countries.
b. Use faculty development workshops to incorporate sustainability into all majors.
c. Enhance the Environmental Studies program.
i. Endow a chair for Environmental Studies.
ii. Make sustainability, with special emphasis on climate change, a central element of the ::Environmental Studies major and minor
Increase course offerings on topics related to sustainability.
Incorporate the study of campus and community material flows into the curriculum.
Provide opportunities for Luther students to teach others about sustainability.
Strengthen connections between sustainability efforts in college operations and the academic program through courses and research.
iii. Build partnerships between environmental studies and other programs (e.g. education and business), emphasizing connections to sustainability.
iv. Work with HPE to increase courses related to outdoor recreation/education/leadership and explore curricular benefits of a college outdoor program.

3. Shift campus culture towards sustainability.

Strategies:

a. Hire a Sustainability Coordinator to oversee college sustainability initiatives. This should be a full-time staff position at a level sufficient to work effectively with all college constituencies.
b. Create a permanent campus sustainability committee including faculty, staff, students, and others.
c. Add sustainability to new student orientation.
d. Educate new employees (faculty and staff) as well as current faculty/staff about the importance of sustainability.
e. Explore voluntary pledges for faculty, staff, and students related to sustainability in their own actions.
f. Educate students and staff on little things they can do to conserve energy (supply power strip boards, reminders in the rooms to turn off lights, appliances, etc.)
g. Incorporate sustainability messages in chapel, college lectures, summer programs, etc.
h. Recruit and attract new students that are environmentally conscious.
i. Develop a scholarship program to attract and retain high school students with an interest in sustainability.
j. Educate campus visitors about sustainability and Luther’s goals and initiatives.
k. Recognize alumni, friends of the college, students, faculty and staff for their leadership in environmental work.
l. Assess and track our impact on student, faculty, staff, alumni attitudes and actions related to sustainability (work with Office of Institutional Research).

4. Collaborate with community partners to develop a sustainable community/region.

Strategies:

a. Create (and endow) a Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College.
b. Collaborate with community partners on sustainability issues and be a catalyst for change. Key partners include churches, hospitals, city and county government, Oneota Co-op, and Seed Savers Exchange.
c. Partner with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative.
d. Enhance environmental education outreach efforts for area youth in partnership with local schools, city, and county.
e. Work with community partners to create an environmental learning center at Nor-Ski.
f. Encourage faculty and staff research in sustainability and provide resources to do this research.
g. Provide more internship and service learning opportunities in the area of sustainability.
h. Be a resource for individuals and the community by providing conferences, speakers, and workshops on sustainability topics.

5. Nurture connection to place in all stakeholders.

Strategies:

a. Develop an outdoor recreation program that provides immersion experiences to incoming students and has year-round programming to connect students to the natural environment of this place.
b. Incorporate sustainable land use and landscaping into the campus master plan and put up signs to tell people what we’re doing.
c. Increase field trips so students learn what’s happening in the area as far as food, energy, etc.
d. Encourage sustainability and place-related activities in summer programs such as Lutherlag.
e. Encourage research focused on our region, including Native peoples, geology, cultural and natural history, and contemporary issues.
f. Nurture connections to the local Amish community and other individuals who practice sustainable living.
g. Endow a Driftless Area natural history lecture series.
h. Develop and distribute educational resources about the natural history of the campus and region.
i. Incorporate place-based education strategies throughout the curriculum.

6. Communicate Luther’s goals and achievements with regard to sustainability and stewardship.

Strategies:

a. Tell our story about campus sustainability prominently on the Luther website.
b. Commit resources to media relations.
c. Support faculty, staff, and student attendance at sustainability conferences.
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