Yale University is committed to being a sustainability leader nationally and internationally. The University integrates sustainable practices by enhancing institutional decision-making – demonstrating that both Yale and World Sustainability are feasible and affordable. Yale University is dedicated to an integrated, comprehensive approach to policy and operations that balances ecosystem health with human health and economic viability.
The Office of Sustainability is charged with positioning Yale as an international model and leader in institutional sustainability through implementation, education, outreach, research, and partnership. In persuit of this, the Office has developed a strategy based on five organizing principles: Policy and Governance; Systems and Operations; Campus Engagement; Academic Integration; and Strategic Partnerships.
Policy and Governance
Vision: Yale's sustainable principles are adopted as a core value of the university. This manifests in the integration of sustainability into the University Master Plan Framework, departmental goals and objectives, and professional assessments. The University has an institutional structure and a decision-making process that advances sustainability as a core value and commitment across all departments, Yale College and professional schools.
Our Approach: The Yale Office of Sustainability provides guidance on integrating tenants of sustainability into policies, processes and practices to all levels of the University. The Office is ambitious in creating networks, fostering inter-departmental collaboration to propel sustainability initiatives campus-wide. It also forms short-term topical task forces. The Office works with the Yale administration and departments throughout the University to establish best practices, targets, and standards for performance while drawing upon outside knowledge, best practices and lessons learned from peer institutions.
A critical component of the Office’s success in this arena is institutional support for what it does. Yale’s leadership has publicly advanced sustainability as a priority for the University, encouraging members of the community to work with the Sustainability team on setting guidelines and standards, measuring and recognizing progress, and developing structures and systems that reflect sustainability priorities. This has allowed the office to help shape systems and to provide context for change in the context of global, regional, local, and university priorities.
Systems and Operations
Vision: Yale identifies, develops, and implements cutting-edge systems and operations that minimize impact on ecosystem health and human health locally and globally and that support the educational and research mission of the University. With innovative, cost-effective systems, we demonstrate that sustainability can be feasible and affordable, even in a period of significant expansion. Guided by ambitious and specific policy goals, departments work together as a manifestation of a shared vision of Yale as a sustainable institution.
Our Approach: The Office of Sustainability facilitates a process to introduce systems and processes that advance sustainability, diminish the University’s impact on the environment, and enhance the social aspects of life at the University. The Office collaborates with key staff, students, and faculty to establish best practices, benchmark performance, and develop targets for improved efficiency and natural resource management.
Vision: Each member of the University has a fundamental understanding of the social, economic, and environmental values that comprise sustainability which is seamlessly integrated into daily life at Yale. Employees are encouraged and rewarded for contributing to and advancing Yale’s commitment. Each student, staff, and faculty member has the means and opportunity to meaningfully participate in advancing Yale’s sustainability principles. This diverse group has a wealth of academic and practical knowledge to share and is well-positioned to effect immediate and lasting change.
Our Approach: The Office of Sustainability is building a culture of sustainability by offering University community members the opportunities to advance the University’s objectives through purposeful participation. The Office provides resources and networks for students and employees of the university to idea-share, explore new concepts, and collaborate on sustainability. In this way, the Office emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, innovation, and interdisciplinary initiatives.
The Office works to build on the expertise offered by the faculty and staff and the enthusiasm and perspective of the students to effect behavior change and encourage shared knowledge. By offering hands-on learning opportunities to the full breadth of university community members, the office is also enhancing the sense of community across the institution. This tactic of enhancing the tangible sustainability solutions increases understanding and therefore personal commitment of community members.
Vision: A Yale education is intimately linked with the institution's sustainability goals as well as related faculty research and scholarship. Students are challenged to grapple with the complex issues posed by sustainability as young leaders and citizens. Undergraduate and graduate students in any discipline have access to interdisciplinary courses related to sustainable development. Faculty specializing in sustainable development are encouraged and rewarded for interdisciplinary cutting edge research and scholarship. By integrating sustainability into the curriculum and providing opportunities to study within interdisciplinary frameworks, the University is preparing tomorrow’s leaders for the challenges and opportunities of working toward constructing a sustainable society.
Our Approach: The Office of Sustainability supports departments and schools around campus as they develop and explore the academic foundations for sustainability and ways to build those into the teaching across a multitude of disciplines. At the same time, the Office is dedicated to tangible outcomes, and is collaborating with faculty and researchers around the University to encourage sustainability projects that use the University and the city of New Haven as living laboratories.
Vision: The integration of sustainability calls upon collective and interactive activities and by leveraging best practices and resources from like-organizations. Higher education networks at the local, state, regional, national and international scales that enable idea-sharing, innovation, and the advancement of cutting edge technologies and concepts. Yale is particularly linked with its surrounding community with the common goal of becoming sustainable.
Our Approach: The Office of Sustainability has established a leadership platform upon which we exchange best practices with institutions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. By discussing our objectives and methods, we motivate other institutions and communities to set similarly ambitious goals and we advance the dialogue on an issue of transcendent importance. The Office is now strategizing on how to enhance the existing inter-institutional relationships and build new alliances of this nature within New Haven and Connecticut.