Professional School Planning
In 2010, President Levin launched the Yale Sustainability Strategic plan, which contains a set of ambitious-yet-achievable goals at the University scale. Yale is a diverse institution comprised of many smaller communities – with each unit, department, or school having its own distinct culture – meaning there is no one-size-fits all method for developing community engagement around the topic of sustainability.
In recognition of this, the Yale Office of Sustainability launched a pilot program to develop sustainability strategies for three of Yale’s 12 professional schools. With support from the deans of the Divinity School, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and the School of Management, the Office of Sustainability partnered with students, staff, and faculty within each school to develop tailored sustainability plans.
Now that those plans are in the implementation phase, the Office of Sustainability is using the experiences gained from the pilot to compile a comprehensive Roadmap to Sustainability to be used by any department within the university. This manual will include practical templates, tools, and resources applicable to all departments seeking to develop their own sustainability plans.
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
As Yale’s environment school, F&ES strives to embody the principles of sustainability both inside and outside of the classroom. The school’s plan laid the groundwork for a variety of projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of F&ES’s buildings, reducing the waste stream, and improving the process of metrics gathering. With this plan as the foundation, F&ES began composting paper towels from the restrooms, installed a composter on site, and launched a green event training program.
School of Management
With special focus given to energy, procurement, transportation, and waste, the School of Management’s plan closely analyzed the internal operations of the many different offices within the school. After conducting this analysis, recommendations emerged for actions that would bring significant environmental benefits while reducing costs. Within the year after the plan was developed, several of these actions were implemented, including composting of coffee grinds at the school’s café, executing an appliance audit, and creating a waste bin redeployment strategy.
The Divinity School plan prioritized energy, waste, and food. It also put forth suggestions on further incorporating sustainability into the Divinity School’s curriculum. The Divinity School has a rich history of environmental activism including student-led projects, a partnership with Greenfaith, and faculty conferences on the interplay between religion and environment. This activism has resulted in many noteworthy accomplishments such as composting waste from the dining hall, maintaining a student run organic garden, and carrying out an energy efficient retrofit of the school’s organ chiller.
As the Office of Sustainability partners with other professional schools and groups on campus, the sustainability community at Yale continues to thrive. Regardless of their role on campus, every member of the Yale community plays an integral part in Yale’s continued success as a sustainability leader.