Sustainability is the minimum condition for a flourishing planet over the long term. Locally, sustainability is important to ensure that the social, environmental, and economic systems of our community are providing a healthy and meaningful life for everyone at Villanova. In a global sense, sustainability ensures that development meets present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. There is little question that sustainability is one of the world’s critical issues. It has become clear that if sustainable practices do not become pervasive, the human community will be in serious trouble. A key component of managing sustainability is having good information—and this was a central component of the Year of Sustainability at Villanova.
Villanova launched an innovative Year of Sustainability in 2008–09 that involved the entire campus community—students, faculty, staff, and alumni alike. Through curricular development, along with research and service initiatives, the year highlighted our crucial and shared responsibility to care for the environment. The year was led by an interdisciplinary executive committee of faculty members in collaboration with the President’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, and culminated in the International SustainAbility Conference featuring Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in April 2009. “Our intention was that the year would help to bring a new era of environmental responsibility to our campus,” says Dr. Francis Galgano of the Department of Geography and the Environment, who served on the Year of Sustainability Executive Committee. “Our hope was to strengthen the foundation of the Villanova commitment to sustainability for generations to come.”
The principal objectives of this year-long academic commitment were to:
- educate students, faculty, and staff through a series of cross-campus programs;
- provide a focused educational experience, thus elevating awareness of global environmental and sustainability issues;
- find ways to infuse an emphasis on sustainability into the curriculum and thus provide students with a different prism through which to view their role in the global community; and
- seek to educate the local community by informing constituents both on and off campus of the importance of this issue for the world as a whole, as well as for the region.
Four Overarching University Goals:
- Awareness and Education: Students and Faculty
- Academics: Curricular Development
- Physical Plant: A Sustainable Campus
- Community Education: Outreach
- University-wide Academic Mission and Strategic Plan
- Research Funding for Faculty and Students
- Development of a Center or Centers