Sustainability at Yale
Yale uses the UN definition of sustainability to set the context for integrating sustainability into all facets of the University: Meeting the social, economic, and environmental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
SUSTAINABILITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
The higher education sector is arguably the most important and dynamic sector in society to lead the way on institutionalizing sustainability. Today’s university graduates are facing unprecedented circumstances in the world. They are being challenged to: stabilize world population; stabilize and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that induce climate change; protect and value biological diversity; stop the destruction of forests worldwide; conserve energy; and stop soil erosion. College graduates will become exposed to these global complexities is if their university is prepared and willing to make difficult decisions and lead the way to a sustainable future through demonstration.
YALE'S SUSTAINABILITY VISION
Yale University is committed to integrated policies and systems that balance ecosystem vitality with human health and economic viability. The University engages its campus as a classroom and laboratory, encouraging coursework and research that result in practical sustainability applications that can be replicated and shared. Through these practices and philosophies, Yale aims to demonstrate that both Yale and World Sustainability are feasible and affordable.
THE ROLE OF THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY
The sustainability team works with students, faculty, and staff around campus to integrate sustainability into the cultural fabric of the University using five channels:
- Policies that integrate sustainability and progressive governance can shape systems and provide context for diminishing the University’s impact on the environment. The Office of Sustainability seeks opportunities to help Yale’s decision-makers incorporate sustainability into their vision.
- Systems and operations are the framework and core of an institution. By facilitating the integration of economic, environmental, and social priorities, the Office of Sustainability is helping the University to strike a balance with the natural world and the community.
Students, faculty, and staff bring distinct skills, priorities, experiences, and energy to the concept of sustainability. The Office orchestrates campus engagement activities to speak to each of these groups and to foster collaboration between them.
- By definition, sustainability is multidisciplinary. The Office works to integrate the principles and study of sustainability into the academic life of the university. Importantly, this is taking place both in the classroom and out of it; faculty from around the University are using the campus as a living laboratory to test concepts and model systems related to sustainability.
- Yale is a learning institution, and there is much still to be learned about sustainability. Through strategic partnerships at the local, national, regional, and global levels, the Office is constantly sharing ideas and developing practices to move the University to a more sustainable future.
For more on these organizational principles, please see Strategy.