Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus

The Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley are pleased to welcome Mitch Thomashow to the North Country to discuss how a college campus offers an ideal setting for exploring and practicing sustainability. Colleges and universities offer our best hope for raising awareness about the climate crisis and the dire threat it poses to the planet. They provide opportunities for both research and implementation; they have the capacity to engage students, staff, and faculty in collaborative enterprises that inspire campus transformation; they take the idea of legacy seriously. But most college and university administrations need guidance on the path to sustainability.

Thomashow outlines a comprehensive strategy for campus sustainability that connects all aspects of campus life. Themes include how to use sustainability as the basis of institutional turnaround and branding, using organizational leadership as the basis for planning and change, and the profound ethical questions that drive sustainability thinking. He connects sustainability to global environmental change, natural history, place-based learning, educational philosophy, and human flourishing. Connecting his experiences to broader concerns, Thomashow links the campus to the planet, reminding us that local efforts, taken together, can have a global impact.

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments.


The Student Center Forum is in Clarkson's Student Center (# 13 on the campus map)