Sustainability at Willamette

Sustainability at Willamette University

January 2014

At Willamette, we take to heart our motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born,” as we seek to envision the future of humankind as a sustainable enterprise – not only the natural world that sustains life, but also the communities and economies that connect us to one another. Considered in this more ecumenical light, our interdependence on each other for survival is brought into sharp relief.

Across all schools and in our co-curricular offerings, we seek to foster meaningful educational experiences that address the defining challenges of the 21st century, including sustainability, which Willamette defines through the “Four E’s”:

  • Education (teaching ecological literacy)
  • Environment (creating a smaller ecologic footprint)
  • Equity (social justice)
  • Economics (sustainability principles for campus operations)

As we move into the future, sustainability continues to serve as a focal point beyond our efforts to ‘live our motto,’ in the service of our city, state, and world, and our mission to prepare graduates to pursue lives of achievement, contribution and meaning. Sustainability is also integral to the university’s strategic objectives as we seek, in a global context, authentic engagement with our immediate surroundings, knowing that the choices we make here and now could have current or future implications for others, both nearby and on the other side of the planet.

During the 2013-14 academic year we are restructuring sustainability at Willamette. The creation of the Sustainability Institute combines the Center for Sustainable Communities, the University's Sustainability Council and the Zena Advisory Committee into a single focused entity.

Goals of the restructure:

  1. Provide administrative leadership, coordination and management of Zena Forest & Farm, increasing the amount of high-quality academic and co-curricular utilization of that resource by students and faculty.
  2. Better coordinate and focus sustainability in the curriculum and co-curriculum university-wide.
  3. Reduce administrative burden on faculty so academic sustainability programs can be strengthened.
  4. Increase the visibility of the sustainability efforts at Willamette so that key constituencies within and beyond the community (e.g., current and prospective students and faculty, alumni, prospective donors, community partners, and other institutions) understand the depth of commitment to sustainability at Willamette.
  5. Incorporate university sustainability goals clearly into university operations.