The University of Rhode Island maintains a long-standing tradition of serving as a public research institution dedicated to solving some of the planet’s most challenging environmental issues. The College of Environment and Life Sciences, the Graduate School of Oceanography, student groups with an environmental focus, the URI Outreach Center, and numerous partnerships with community programs, are just a few of the university’s assets contributing to the mission of campus sustainability. The Strategic Plan for Campus Sustainability is a mechanism by which URI’s efforts are organized and more deliberately executed in the most collaborative manner possible.
More importantly, the Strategic Plan presents comprehensive recommendations of the university President’s Council on Sustainability for URI to emerge as a leader in campus sustainability, and serve as a model to higher education institutions across the nation. This plan will guide the integration of sustainability into the culture of the university, allowing our campuses to serve as living laboratories of innovative practices and sustainable systems, campuses, and communities.
Five areas of focus have been identified as priority sustainability issues for this campus:Curriculum and Research, Communication, Community Culture and Outreach,Transportation, and Facilities and Operations. Working groups have been established to assess existing sustainability initiatives and identify opportunities to expand efforts toward campus sustainability across the university. Each Working Group will meet regularly throughout the year to track progress of implemented strategies, and ensure action items are in harmony with the university’s vision for campus sustainability. The success of this endeavor will depend upon the leadership of the members of each Working Group.
The Strategic Plan for Campus Sustainability must be a dynamic document in order to respond to shifting circumstances and technologies. Though strategies proposed in this iteration of the strategic plan may be revised, added, even deleted, what will remain constant will be URI’s commitment to achieve campus sustainability. By organizing the implementation of the goals and strategies of the focus areas, this strategic plan will serve as a guide in addressing URI’s environmental impacts in measurable ways.