Meeting Minutes 10/13

Student Sustainability Advisory Council meeting

October 13, 2011


Review of the Sustainability Strategic Plan and feedback

Definition of sustainability, seven principles, five goals (see draft of plan)

Feedback on definition of sustainability: 

         Why is economic well-being first?

         Why is prosperity also listed, and what is the difference between economic well-being and prosperity?  Is this redundant?

         Could we put environmental quality first?

         Where is happiness in this definition?  Is it included in prosperity?

Will sustainability at Penn State require a total culture change, and is this possible?

         Over-consumptive nature of students

         Alumni discomfort with change

         What about students who don’t want to support sustainability?

o   Must consider evolution of student attitudes/behaviors toward sustainability.  Ex:  Students who are reluctant about sustainability are the ones who need to take sustainability classes.  Ex:  Students often take on the values of their major field.

         Ultimate question–how do we best change the culture at Penn State to incorporate sustainability?

Implementing all five goals at all PSU campuses risks homogenizing sustainability efforts.

         Sustainability will be unique at each campus

         Solutions will grow from place–place-based learning is key–need ways to learn about sustainability based on where we currently are

         Would be useful to create a sustainability needs assessment tool

         The “consistency” principle refers to consistency with the overall PSU strategic plan

Goal 1, create living lab:

         Incorporate innovation

         A potential sub-statement–Each campus will implement sustainability based on its specific needs

Show me the money–where is the funding behind sustainability?

Goals 3 and 5–Where is the local community?

         More explicitly state commitment to working with the local communities surrounding campuses

         Develop partnerships with local businesses, agencies, etc.

         Currently, the goals sound like a one-way street of sustainability coming from PSU–there needs to be more mutuality between PSU and local communities.

         This ties into being more transparent with the local community

         Be sure to get feedback on strategic plan, sustainability efforts from local community

         In goal 3, instead of “engage,” perhaps “partner with and listen to,” “share,” “open dialogue with,” or “participate in collaboration with community”

         Goal 5–add “at all scales”–“Advance sustainability within the larger society at all scales”–to more explicitly acknowledge the nested community network we want to work with (local community, region, state, country, world)

Curriculum question:  What does it look like to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum?

         A few options:

o   Make a general education requirement

o   Integrate sustainability into all courses

o   Build on the classes students already take

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